Food Bank gets large donation from U of S students

Jodi Schellenberg
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The University of Saskatchewan Prince Albert program students collected a mountain of food to donate to the Prince Albert Food Bank on Tuesday afternoon.

University of Saskatchewan Prince Albert program students collected a large amount of food to donate to the Prince Albert Food Bank on Tuesday afternoon.

The idea was brought forward by one of the English professors, program assistant Cindy Koob said.

“She pitched the idea of a Food Bank drive,” Koob said. “She picked a handful of students she thought might take the initiative on it and they took the ball and went with it. They did a great job.”

The students ran the whole project, collecting donations, decorating and rallying the other students, she said.

“We knew there are a lot of families in P.A. that are relying on this food bank and a donation from a school with as many students as we do have will bring in a lot more food and a lot of donations,” student Shelby Spencer said. “A lot of families do need the help and every little bit does help.”

Supporting others in the community was a great way to think about how fortunate they really are, Koob said.

“This is the time of year where we like to think about all the many blessings that we have and think of those who maybe aren’t that fortunate and to help others who maybe aren’t in quite as good of a position,” Koob said. “This is the time of year when a lot of people’s budgets are stretched and I think it is probably easy for students -- the broke student -- to relate to people having a little bit of a challenge stretching their dollars and making ends meet.”

The Food Bank can help make someone’s Christmas a happy time of year, they said.

“Our students, I think for the most part realize how fortunate they are, even to get a university education is a privilege,” Koob said. “That’s why we picked the food bank. We figured it was the one that would do the community the most good this time of year.”

“A couple dollars or a can of soup can help someone and make someone’s Christmas a little bit more enjoyable having more food,” Spencer said.

Everyone was impressed with how much the students collected.

“Oh my goodness, I did not think we’d get this much at all,” Spencer said. “We got money donations as well, so we can donate that money to the food bank so they can buy a head of lettuce or something -- something that is perishable but can go quickly so it is not sitting on the shelf.”

The fact that it came from university students, who do not have a lot of money to spare, was also impressive.

“It is absolutely incredibly impressive -- especially when we know we have students that do utilize our services so it is all the more impressive,” co-manager of the Food Bank Wes Clarke said.

“When we first announced it to our bio class, we had a lot of blank stares and a lot of people just looked at us and laughed at us,” Spencer said. “A lot of us are on student budgets but I mean your mom has a box of macaroni in the back of her cupboard or a can of soup or something you bought wanting to try, but decided you wouldn’t like it. Anything counts.”

Although it was a large donation, Koop is not sure how much was actually collected but said in addition to all the food they also raised about $100.

“I don’t know but I can tell you it’s heavy. I can’t even guess how much that all would weigh but I can tell you there will be a number of families that will be very thankful to receive this,” Koop said. “That might be the difference between one family being able to buy a Christmas gift this season.”

The Food Bank also appreciated all the hard work schools in the community have been doing by running food drives.

“I think it is fabulous -- we get a lot of community involvement through the schools and SIAST is one with older, they can discuss more of the issues surrounding poverty in our city,” Clarke said. “We get a lot of support also from elementary schools and it is just great to see that out of our youth. A big thank-you to the community and these students for all their support.”

Donations of prizes from local businesses, including Dr. Java’s and Panago Pizza, helped give the students more incentive to bring in food items.

“We offered the students, every one of them that brought a food bank donation, their names would be entered into a draw,” Koob said. “A big thanks to the students for showing their support and their leadership skills. I think they did a lot to build campus community and to reach out to our greater community here as well. I’m really proud of them.”

Organizations: Food Bank Wes Clarke

Geographic location: P.A.

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