FALL RIVER: On a mild February night, more than 20 people—16 of them youth—gathered to make a difference in the lives of some of those less fortunate served by Beacon House in Lower Sackville.

The youth—Grade 7/8 students who take Catechism at Saint Rose of Lima Church in Fall River—gathered inside the Fall River KwikWay (or Mason’s as it is known by locals) for a shopping trip of sorts. There, under the watchful eye of teacher Arlene MacAskill and two other parents, they packed their environment-friendly bags with food that is needed at the Cobequid Road food bank, which serves Wellington, Fall River, Waverley, Bedford, Sackville, and Mount Uniacke.

Pictured are Grace Gillis; Grace Brown; Mitchell LaCroix; and Kelsey Morris. (Healey photo)

In the end, they would purchase $754.11 worth of food—$640 of that came from money they raised at bake sales, another $10 from a local man who stopped in for some lotto tickets, while this was taking place, while KwikWay owner Mehsen Nakad donated the remainder.

“We have tried to help different organizations during the 12 years I have been teaching,” said MacAskill on Feb. 22.

Within a 20 minute span from when Nakad gave them the thumbs up until the final item that was rang in to the cash register by Nakad and employee Jenni Dube, the kids partaking were focused, many with big smiles on their faces.

Anna Weeks had a simple reason to want to do the bake sales to purchase the food.

“It’s kind and they need donations,” said Weeks.

Anna Weeks looks at salad dressing. (Healey photo)

MacAskill said a presentation by the Executive Director from Beacon House was inspiring.

“I have lived in Fall River for 12 years now and had no idea Beacon House was as large as it is, and served as many people as it does,” she said. “Once we found that out we thought that our collective effort this year should go to them.”

Weeks said it means a lot to her to help.

“I think they’re going to be really grateful when they get the food we purchased,” she said. “It’s going to help a lot of . people.

“I think it shows that even though we’re young, that we can make a difference.”

Lydia Ramsay said if other kids see what they’ve done, maybe it’ll get them to want to do something similar.

“It might motivate them to want to make some changes in the world, like a domino effect,” she said.

With KwiKWay owner Mehsen Nakad is Lydia Ramsay. (Healey photo)

For his part, Nakad, who is also a parishioner of St. Rose of Lima, was just happy to help the kids out.

“It’s always nice to see the young kids wanting to help those who need the help, and Beacon House is the perfect spot because they do a fantastic job,” said Nakad. “They help people who need the help with food, diapers.

“It’s my pleasure to have these kids come to my store to purchase these goods for Beacon House. They’re beautiful kids from beautiful families.”

He wasn’t surprised that the children raised as much as they did from just bake sales.

“When people from this community hear about any kind of fundraising for people who need some help, the people in this community are amazing and they give from their heart,” he said.

Claire Sampson, Brigitte Mills, Shelby Baxter show their bags of packed food for Beacon House. (Healey photo)

Weeks and Ramsay were thrilled that they could do something like this right in their own small community, with Nakad stepping up to help out.

“I think it was very kind of him to let us shop here for this,” said Ramsay.

That’s a sentiment many in the group echoed as they mingled about. Now it’s the communities turn to continue showing their appreciation at Mason’s.

phealey@enfieldweeklypress.com

The group picture before the purchasing began (Healey photo)
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Pat Healey
Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!