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It is a bit odd to be thinking of Valentine’s Day as we’re coming up to Christmas, but  Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has a great program called Valentine’s for Vets and you need to get moving NOW if you want to participate.  It is a simple thing… children are encouraged to make Valentine’s Day cards for Canadian Veterans and then VAC will distribute them in February.

Make your cards in December or early January (or maybe as part of your Remembrance Day meeting).  But read the Tips and Message ideas page first.   There are specific rules about what they can accept (like no sparkles!) and what should go on the card … they’re looking for a nice cheerful message of thanks and caring to a non-specific veteran (it is a definite change of focus from the solemnity of Remembrance Day).

Then mail the cards in time to arrive by mid-January (January 14, 2013) to:

Valentines for Vets
Veterans Affairs Canada
Canada Remembers
P.O. Box 7700
Charlottetown, PE C1A 8M9

We’re planning our yearly Key to My Community: Celebrations meeting in December and we’ll be making Valentine’s Day cards too.

UPDATE: Cathy from Bluenose Guider incorporated VFV into her Guide Unit’s Remembrance Day meeting.  Her last line reminds us to explain the activity very well.

We gave them preprinted verses that they could glue in the cards, and a preprinted label that said “4th Hammonds Plains Guides” to glue on the back, and lots of stamps and stickers and pretty paper that they could use to decorate the cards with.

As we were starting to explain what we were doing, one girl asked, “Why do veterinarians need Valentine’s?” Oops! We should have explained that first. 🙂

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Tomorrow night we’ll be helping out at the Ottawa Food Bank.  We’ve done this a couple of times before and it is a good way to let kids make a direct impact on our neighbourhood.

Things to think about:

  • Food Bank visits are pretty popular around big holidays.  Think about doing a food drive/or Unit visit when the food need is still great, but the helpers are fewer.
  • Because of the popularity, book a fall food bank visit early.
  • Make sure your girls wear clothes they can get dirty.
  • And, if there is enough room (check with your Food Bank) invite the parents along (it takes a lot of muscle to move a lot of food — the more the merrier).  And it is fun to see your kids working with their parents.

What you’ll do:

  • It is always good to have the girls show up with a non perishable food item – or a toiletry item of some kind.  That’s the point, after all.
  • Depending on the facility you’re visiting, you may get to see a food sorting operation, a big fridge (I don’t know why, but kids like big fridges), and lots of food.
  • The representative will probably talk to you about what the Food Bank does, where they get food, and they’ll talk about what the Food Bank needs.  And what it doesn’t.
  • And then you’ll probably sort food into categories so it can be distributed properly.

And that’s it.  A fairly simple meeting that has a big punch of meaning.  Book it early, and give it a try.

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