This weekend’s Sam Steele Days celebration will feature a new, special event on Sunday, June 22.
Children are invited to Rotary Park in Cranbrook from noon until 1:30 p.m. to a tea party with the Sweethearts of Sam Steele.
Little girls can dress up as princesses for the special tea party, where they will sip lemonade and iced tea from fine china tea cups with the Sweethearts, who will be in their formal dresses, crowns and sashes.
The first 96 children to arrive will be able to take their pretty tea cups home with them as a souvenir.
The event is a fundraiser by the Sweethearts called Crowns for Hungry Kids in Cranbrook.
Those who participate in the tea party are asked to bring a monetary or food donation that will go to children in Cranbrook who don’t have enough to eat.
It’s a new initiative that is being run through Laurie Middle School’s Parent Advisory Council by concerned Cranbrook resident Christy Wheeldon.
Earlier this year, Wheeldon learned that some children may only eat at school in a breakfast program or the Salvation Army’s lunch program. She decided to help out by preparing food for some children to take home over the weekend.
“I got permission from Laurie and the parents so that we could send 10 kids home with a backpack for the weekend. It’s not meant to feed a family; it’s filling a need for this kid,” said Christy.
Her husband, realtor Jason Wheeldon, has sponsored the 10-week pilot project, now wrapping up with the end of the school year, to send 10 children home with a bag full of non-perishables each weekend, such as bread, peanut butter, macaroni and canned goods.
“People have given me bags of food. I’ve had friends show up on my doorstep with food and say, ‘Give this to who needs it,'” said Christy.
Now she is working with the Salvation Army to brainstorm ways to continue to provide food for hungry children over the summer.
“What happens over the summer? That’s the plan that’s being worked on right now. There’s nothing written in stone. We have identified it as a problem; now let’s work towards it.
Brianna Kennedy, 2012-2013 Sweetheart and organizer of the tea party, said they were looking for a fundraiser to support when Christy’s name came up.
“I was like, ‘Perfect. That’s the one,'” she said.
Karin Penner, coordinator of the Sam Steele youth ambassador program, said fundraising fits in with what the young ladies are taught in the program.
“We try to instil in the girls that they are a part of the community and they are going to grow up and have an important role in the community. In order to know a community, you have to be a part of it,” said Penner.
“I think it’s wonderful that our young people are stepping up to help Christy.”