A grade six student in London, Ont., started a donation drive at her school to help gather supplies for Ukrainian refugees, including hygiene products, clothes, backpacks and school supplies.
“I feel great, I just love to help people. It’s my passion,” said Mehr Malhotra, a student at Sir Arthur Currie Public School.
All the proceeds went to Ukraine Help Middlesex, a volunteer organization creating welcome baskets for refugees arriving in London and surrounding communities. The donation drive began on June 6 and lasted one week.
The idea for the project came after Alexandria Hessel, Malhotra’s literacy teacher, gave her students an assignment where they could research and write about anything they wanted. The students also had the option to take action and implement their ideas.
“I knew with her passion for political and social things, that we have a change maker in our midst,” said Hessel.
Hessel said Malhotra has always been interested in current events, and has felt strongly about keeping the class updated around what’s going on in political issues. For another class assignment, Malhotra wrote a letter to Putin to stop the war.
When the school librarian helped inform Malhotra about a group creating welcome baskets for Ukrainian refugees, Malhotra decided that’s what she wanted to focus on.
Malhotra created around 15 flyers to hang around the school, which included a list of items people could donate.
Nichole Lovell, a member of the committee working to create welcoming baskets, was surprised when she saw that the total amount filled her SUV trunk. She said the whole experience was surprising and emotional.
“I think often we as adults maybe don’t you know, realize that kids are watching and listening to what goes in the media and around the world,” she said.
“I just thought it was just such a selfless act of this kid, to realize that there’s a really terrible thing going on in the world right now, and she had the foresight to put something together and collect these donations.”
“I think it’s just the beginning of the amazing things she’s going to do in this world. I am beaming with pride,” said Hessel of her student.
Malhotra said her passion is helping other people, something she plans to continue doing.
“This is what I want to do when I’m older, so I’m happy that I started it now,” she said.
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