St. Peter students making camp stoves for homeless

St. Peter students making camp stoves for homeless

Students at the local high school have made 25 portable camp stoves in their fabrication and welding classes that will soon be given away to homeless people at camps — and in January, students expect to offer 25 more stoves.

Kevin Fitzgerald is a car manufacturing teacher at St Peter Secondary School in Peterborough and his students have been working on the project for most of December.

He says they were thrilled.

“It’s amazing when you give students that kind of motivation… Students will rally,” he said.

Fitzgerald led the project with a total of 41 students — some in his 12th grade dual-credit welding program and others in his 11th grade welding class.

The idea was to make small camp stoves with removable grates, intended for heating canned soup or a small pot over a can of jellied fuel.

Fitzgerald said that in earlier years his students made larger versions of these camp stoves. They were designed to burn wood and were made by teenagers for their own use on fishing trips, for example.

But then Fitzgerald was recently approached by his neighbor Scott Couper, a social worker who helps people living in rough conditions, and the two spoke about what the teenagers could do to help.

Fitzgerald later discussed it with his students.

“We had this idea for a smaller version of the camp stove – with a fondue flame,” he said.

Next, the youth set about making 25 stoves using whatever materials were available in the school store.

“We really used a lot of leftover scrap material,” Fitzgerald said, and they used metal plates donated by Durham College.

“We googled… But it’s amazing what you can do.”

The teenagers found enough material for 25 small stoves and they are in the process of making 25 more.

The first batch of 25 stoves are delivered by Couper and Fitzgerald to the camp at Rehill car park in Wolfe Street on Boxing Day.

That day, Couper said a hot ham dinner was planned in the parking lot (courtesy of PJ’s Diner on Chemong Road, he said) and he would be presenting gift bags with donated items such as hot pepper sticks, bags of peanuts, underwear and socks, as well as new sleeping bags.

Meanwhile, more camping stoves will follow: Fitzgerald expects his students to have made 25 more by January, which Couper said he will distribute to homeless people living in remote tents.

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