Tanner Mann is serving up a different sort of hockey banquet for his birthday party next Saturday.
Mann, who just turned seven on Jan. 23, is asking his classmates to donate food for the food bank instead of gifts for his birthday party.
Tanner, an avid hockey player, was torn between going to a Kitchener Rangers game and renting the ice at the Albert McCormick arena in Waterloo. He finally decided he’d rather celebrate with his friends and classmates at Conestogo Public School, where he gave invitations to two classes and their siblings and his principal, Mr. Martin.
“I gave it to pretty much the whole school but a few,” Tanner said. “We’re going to be skating, and then we’re going to do the donation.”
“The kids never get to go on the ice with their sticks just to play,” said Tanner’s mom, Monica. “It’s either during hockey or no sticks.”
They wouldn’t normally have such a big party, but it didn’t make sense to rent the ice for a handful of people.
Monica said the idea to ask for food was partly his and partly hers.
“He wasn’t quite sure exactly what we wanted to do, but he knew he didn’t need to have that many presents.”
They decided that donating to the food bank was something that didn’t require the parents to spend a lot of money or go to a lot of effort on their kids’ behalf.
Monica and her husband try to instil in their three sons the importance of doing for others. At Christmas, each of the kids gives a gift for the angel tree and Monica donates to the food bank.
Monica said she was going to school when her oldest son, Zack, was born.
“It was just he and I, and it was a rough road. Now that we ‘have’, it’s important to give back.”
Tanner isn’t going without gifts altogether; his parents got him a Nintendo DS and what he calls “hockey underthings.”