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A heart of gold in challenging times

Athabasca teacher and her mom hand out food bags to those who need them
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Gone in 60 seconds. WHPS Grade 3 teacher Janaya Reimer and her mother Madena Reimer put together 20 food packages for anyone who needs them as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Reimers found a line-up waiting for them at Buy-Low Foods of people needing the packages, and they were gone in about a minute. Bryan Taylor/AA

ATHABASCA – A Grade 3 teacher from Whispering Hills Primary School put her heart on her sleeve during the week to hand out shopping bags of food in the Buy-Low Foods parking lot to those who might need them as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Janaya Reimer and her mother Madena Reimer put together a total of 110 bags during the week in lieu of the breakfast program that was offered at the school before the provincial government ordered the closure of all schools with the province. 

“Being a teacher, my mind went straight to my students that call school home, especially those who rely on WHPS to get them food every day,” Janaya Reimer said. “So, I started to brainstorm ideas of what I could do to help these kids to get them their food. I ran it by my mom, and she was on board with this immediately.” 

She said she started with 20 breakfast bags March 17 for those children who had breakfast at the school. 

“We just gave it a go, and it went really well,” Reimer continued. “We put it lots of fruit, apple sauces, juice boxes, as well as oatmeal and cereal. The bags went really fast, and we were also able to see that there was a need not just for kids, but for whole families as well.” 

She said they upped their game plan the next day buy packing a full meal for families who were interested in their services. 

“We put in pasta, canned vegetables, beans, cookies, more fruits and a whole bunch of food that would suit anyone from kids, the elderly, as well as everyone else,” Reimer stated. “We put together 20 bags once again that day, and there was already a line-up waiting for us. I didn’t even have enough time to get my coat on, the bags were literally gone in less than 60 seconds.” 

On March 21, they were out again at the parking lot with about 70 bags in tow. 

“We were helping people who would otherwise not of had the snacks with the economy the way it is now,” Madena Reimer said. “Everybody is down and out with more and more people losing their jobs. And now with this coronavirus out there, the need becomes even more imperative.” 

She added that her and her husband are very proud of their daughter for taking action on a cause close to her heart. 

“Kindness is not about being noticed. It’s about making a difference,” Mrs. Reimer added. “We received a lot of donations from the community for this cause, including $200 from Buy-Low Foods to purchase more groceries. We also wanted to thank Canadian Tire for their assistance in this endeavor.” 

Janaya Reimer said on their third day out, they also put a little pink paper heart inside each of the bag. 

“We hoped to spread the kindness and help make somebody’s day,” she continued. “Everyone who donated or shown their support for what we are doing made this all the worthwhile. We would not have been able to do this without them.” 

She added they will be back out March 24 from 3-4 p.m. to hand out the food bags to anyone who needs them. 

“We will also have it on social media and the radio,” Reimer said. “Our first post March 17 was shared more than 40 times on Facebook. We hope to be able to continue to help those who are in need.” 

Bryan Taylor,
Follow me on Twitter @BryanTaylorNews

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Bryan Taylor

About the Author: Bryan Taylor

Bryan Taylor is a reporter with the Athabasca Advocate, joining the paper in April 2018. He covers Athabasca and Boyle municipal politics, as well as other news, community events and sports in and around the region.
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