Metro/Katie Turner From left, Sara Mattingly, 12, Andrea Gelindon, 9, Ruby Sobrino, 8, Ovidu Wijekoon, 10, help load food donations for the Calgary Food Bank Thursday.

Many hands, even small ones, make for light work.

About a dozen children between nine and 12 years old went to work Thursday loading about 8,000 lbs. of donated food items into a Southland school bus.

As part of a free YMCA program called Kids in Motion, the children have spent the past few weeks going to several communities dropping off donation bags and later picking up the donations.

“The kids are involved in meaningful volunteer opportunities throughout the summer, and in return they get recreational opportunities that they might not have been able to pursue otherwise,” explained, Selena Gignac, community outreach manager with the YMCA.

“They’re out exploring parts of their own community space often with neighbours they know themselves and it’s just a really great chance for them to build a sense of community.”

Participant Jeffrell Painaga, 12, said it was fun to give back.

“It feels good to do something for other people,” he said.

The drive is one of the biggest for the Calgary Food Bank, according to the organization’s Shawna Ogston, and this year’s drive generated 3,000 lbs more than in 2012.

“To be able to see kids get together and work for a good cause, not only does it boost their self-esteem but they see the impact,” she said.

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