Abbotsford students celebrate Vaisakhi by filling the neonatal unit with baby onesies

Vaisakhi is a time of giving, and a group of Abbotsford students were inspired by this year’s celebration to do something meaningful.

Eugene Reimer middle school celebrated Vaisakhi on April 14 with a school dance, a dhol craft (a dhol is a two-sided drum popular in South Asia), and performances by the Eugene Reimer School band.

Students had plenty to celebrate, as this was the first in-person celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020.

A group of Grade 8 students used the celebration to fundraise in the spirit of Vaisakhi, with the help of education assistant Kam Kooner. Navreet Brar, Jiya Johal, Harmeet Lidher, Parmeet Lidher, Mannat Sidhu, and Rhys Sidhu sold lunch that day. They also sold donuts provided by Sippchai Cafe and Lighthouse Fresh and Tasty restaurant, with all of the profits aimed at going back into the community.

After the event, the students and Kooner got together to decide where they would direct the funds they had raised. Kooner told the students she had read a newspaper article that the neonatal unit in the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre had a desperate need for baby onesies of all sizes.

This was the perfect place for the students, they decided, as it was the best way to give back to the future generation. They went on a shopping trip to Carter’s to find the button-up style that the hospital needs. The students spent the $300 they raised on 36 button-up onesies and delivered them to the hospital themselves.

They weren’t the only ones to hear the call. The cupboards are now stocked full of onesies after many individuals and groups quickly and selflessly filled the need there.

However, there are always new items that the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation is looking for to support the hospitals in Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack and Hope.

The items must all be donated through the foundation, and there is an updated list of current needs for each hospital and the pediatric units at Abbotsford and Chilliwack hospitals on the foundation’s website, at They also fundraise year-round to purchase large wish list items for other departments, from cardiology to mental health.