Gretchen Gamble’s Grade 3-4 class at A.A. Wright Public School in Wallaceburg (Aaron Hall)

After learning about homelessness, the Grade 3-4 class at A.A. Wright Public School in Wallaceburg decided to do something to help.

Gretchen Gamble, the Grade 3-4 teacher at the school, told the Sydenham Current some of the children in her class were very concerned for homeless people through the winter.

“They talked a lot about people that they saw in Toronto living on the street… and that we do have homeless people in Chatham-Kent. So we talked about homelessness and what it looks like,” she said.

“We brainstormed a bunch of ways that we could help and they thought that collecting toiletries, like soap and toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, and all that stuff would be the best thing to do for The Hope Haven in Chatham.”

The Hope Haven is a new homeless shelter for men, located at 183 Wellington St. W. in Chatham.

It opened its doors to the public November and just recently held an official grand opening earlier this month.

“I called them up and they loved the idea,” Gamble said.

For two weeks the Grade 3-4 class collected toiletries from staff and students from all across the school.

“We sent notes out to everybody in the school and we made a video that we shared with the school and with the parents,” Gamble said.

“So the whole school collected items, but our class was the one that organized it.”

At the end of the two weeks a total of 1,604 items were gathered.

“The kids in our class felt really good about it,” Gamble said.

“The conversations that we had were really good too. Some of them talked about different ways that people can become homeless. Somebody got evicted… they talked a lot about that and they knew that they really wanted to help. So when they saw things coming in, they were really feeling good about it.”

For more details about The Hope Haven, email, call 519-351-4010 or visit:

– Photo credit: Aaron Hall