Large-scale teacher appreciation as a local restaurant spearheads a demonstration of support for all staff at a local school

With the intention of completing twelve fundraisers in a calendar year, Original Joe’s Whitecourt Executive Director Christina Marinelli seeks to impart some community love to teachers and staff at Whitecourt Central School. . “Teachers went through the wringer with back and forth, learning online, in the classroom and trying to confuse kids during a pandemic. I really can’t imagine how difficult it must be, and they have good attitudes about it from what I’ve ever seen. We wanted to do something to thank them.

Trying to decide which school to surprise was a tough decision. “We put all the schools in a bowl and drew one at random because we knew we couldn’t pick one. Marinelli said that once the central school was chosen, they called them to find out how many staff they have, including teachers, support staff, administration and the janitor. The total was 44.

“We had a similar idea to the fundraiser we organized last February, where we made gift baskets and sold them to raise funds. This time, we thought about asking local businesses for donations to make gift bags, ”she explained. “We take whatever people can give us. We’re going to make it work and build the gift bags. We will use whatever we receive. Local vendors gave us gift cards, edibles, jewelry, all kinds of different items.

The plan is to donate the gifts on November 1st. However, it does not end there. “We also wanted to do something to make their lives easier. One of my staff came up with the idea that school supplies are often out of stock, whether it’s because teachers only get a certain amount, and they have to make it work, or some students did not send enough with them. Whether lost or left at home, or whatever. We thought of collecting school supplies at the same time to make life easier for staff and improve the lives of children.

To accomplish this double feat of generosity, Marinelli said he set up a table in the restaurant that displays fundraising information and some donations they have received. It also features some of the companies that have donated to the gift bags. “We asked our guests at the restaurant and local businesses if they could help with our collection of school supplies. We have an incredible amount of supplies right now.

She said they would continue to accept donated supplies until the day before their delivery. “Anyone can drop off at the restaurant until October 31,” Marinelli said. “If someone wants to donate to the gift bags, they can do so until the same date. Even if someone has something to give, we will find a place for it.

Marinelli said they are having a fabulous raffle to thank those who donate for the collection of school supplies. “We reached out to the local vendors we use, regarding alcohol supplies, to see if they would like to donate for a prize package.” She said they received loot items including a Yeti cooler worth a pretty penny. “Anyone who donates school supplies or donates two dollars will receive a raffle ticket to win this grand prize. ”

With things slower at the restaurant, Marinelli said the fundraisers had been a welcome distraction for staff from the madness of the outside world. “With the new restriction exemption program, it really brought down our volume here at the restaurant, and we still had to lay off staff. They went through the wringer in the last round of layoffs and now this round again. I wanted to do something to remind all of us that we can create positivity around us even when things seem dark enough, and that we can look at the positives and be a catalyst for the good while this uncontrollable thing is going on. around us.

The good vibes that follow a donation like this will impact everyone involved, and Marinelli said everyone should feel that goodness. “If you give gratitude, it comes back to you. I have to give my staff a special day, something to look forward to. I want them to feel that they are one of the people who encourage people and that they are doing a meaningful good job in our community. We are delighted to have this happy day.

Not only does its staff at Original Joe’s Whitecourt feel the heat, but the customers too. “Fundraisers like this make our clients a part of something bigger than themselves. The time that our staff devote to fundraising is entirely devoted to their personal time. We hope the teachers and staff at the central school will feel the love on November 1 when we drop off their gift baskets and all supplies. She said community fundraisers bring everyone together, and she thanks everyone for donating and being a part of it.

“We have a huge table of amazing supplies and my office is full of stuff for teachers and staff. We build that momentum before the day of delivery. It boosts that creative and exciting energy, and I feel like it spreads to others and helps everyone feel positive and motivated to keep going. ”

Those wishing to join in the fun can drop off school supplies such as dry erase markers, crayons, glue sticks, duo tangs, post-its or anything else at Original Joe’s Whitecourt before the 31st close. October. The same goes for those who wish to donate. something towards the gift baskets. “Thank you!”

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