image of Janaya Reimer

Location: Athabasca, Alberta

Grade 3 students at Athabasca’s Whispering Hills Primary School are getting a lesson in compassion, courtesy of their teacher, Janaya Reimer.

When COVID-19 initially forced the closure of Alberta schools, Janaya immediately recognized the impact that would have on her students. For as much as schools are a place to feed the mind, in many cases, they are an important source of nutrition for the body. Janaya began by preparing breakfast bags for the students who would normally have gotten their first meal of the day at school. The breakfast bags went quickly – and the delivery revealed that the need was greater than she first realized. It was not just the children who were in need of a healthy hand up, the need was shared by the rest of the family.

What began as bagged lunches of fruit, cereal and applesauce, grew to include full meal and healthy snack packages that would satisfy the youngest to oldest members of the family. Enlisting the help of social media and her contact list, Janaya put the word out that she would be in the parking lot of the local grocery store with these culinary care packages ready to go to anyone who needed them – no questions asked. A line-up was there to greet her and gratefully accept the gift she offered.

With the help of financial contributions from the community, Janaya has not only helped to silence a few growling stomachs, but she has also helped lift the spirits of her neighbours. For stepping up when it matters most, this elementary school teacher definitely gets an A+ for effort.

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