The Everybody Deserves A Smile project is back for another year.

It’s based out of Courtenay’s École Puntledge Park Elementary, with other 19 local schools taking part.

The annual program has students putting 1,160 care packages together for people living on the streets in the community and across Vancouver Island. 

Teacher Chantal Stefan is spearheading the project, aimed at teaching  students compassion by connecting face-to-face with people in need. 

“Kids are hand-painting bags and making homemade Christmas cards and then all of our communities are invited to donate wool socks and toques and mitts and scarves,” Stefan said. 

“The kids are then filling the care packages and going into soup kitchens and shelters to hand (them) out.”

You can help out by dropping off winter wear at the following locations:

  • Comox Recreation Centre, 
  • Comox Library, 
  • Cumberland Library, 
  • Seeds Food Market, 
  • Blue Spruce Ice Cream, 
  • Courtenay Library, 
  • Florence Filberg Centre, 
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 
  • Lewis Recreation Centre, 
  • Re/Max Realty, 
  • Starbucks, and 
  • Studio IPF.

Most partnering schools are also drop-off locations.

Preferred sizes are medium for women and extra large for men.

Stefan said everyone involved in the EDAS project has been gifted with positive feedback.

“Our Grade 7s at Puntledge Park host the whole gamut so every year they’re our leaders, our change makers,” Stefan said. 

“And every year our Grade 7s at their grad really talk about the impact, it being one of their favourite life experiences because they’re pushed to challenge their own belief systems and core values and look beyond somebody’s behaviour and see a person for just a normal, equal human being and it spills into their homes, as well.”

The drop-off deadline is Dec. 9.

Cash donations can be made payable to EDAS, or E-Transfer to theedasproject@gmail.com.

More details about the program can be found at edas.ca, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.