Can do attitude

Mya with the canned food collected by the school. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Jed Lanyon

A Chum Creek Primary School student has rallied the local community to help those in need this winter.

Mya Rizzi started a canned food drive at her school, which has now seen over 200 canned meals provided to Healesville Interchurch Community Care Inc (HICCI).

“I wanted to help people who need food but couldn’t buy it,” she said. “I wanted to help the community and it’s really important because it’s winter and because of Covid there are no jobs really.

“The idea behind canned soups and stews is that they provide a complete meal,” she said.

Mya set up a donation box for the cans at her school and then met with a manager of Healesville Coles about setting up a donation point at the supermarket. She then spoke to other schools in the area to promote the cause in their school newsletter to spread the word.

Initially she had a goal of 50 cans. After pitching the idea to principal Michael Corr, he set a reward for Mya’s campaign.

“He said as a school, for every 50 cans, then the whole school gets half an hour of extra play. If we get to 200, then we get popcorn and a movie… But nobody knows about that yet.

“I thought we’d only get about 50. It’s really good because now we can give more to people.”

Mum, Angela McSweeney said the project started when Mya wrote to HICCI.

“Mya wanted to do a winter jacket and warm blanket fundraiser and they wrote back and said this (canned food) is ideally what they would need.”

HICCI executive officer Alison Gommers said, “It’s a huge credit to Mya to take the initiative. It’s very kind and generous that she’s come through in supporting people and rallying the community to support people.

“It will really benefit our clients, especially now when it’s getting cold. For those sleeping rough, they can have a hot meal and some nice food.”

It comes as HICCI’s regular community dinners were forced to halt due to coronavirus restrictions.

“I think it’s a huge effort and shows how lucky we are in this community to know that people are caring and looking after each other in a small way to make a big difference,” she said.

Ms Gommers said the cans are easy for the support organisation to distribute and provide immediate help.