The holiday season is in full swing, and UMSU has provided several ways for the U of M community to give back.
UMSU’s holiday hamper program, which is going into its 21st year of operations, has received over 180 hamper applications this year — almost double last year’s 100 requests.
UMSU VP advocacy Sarah Bonner-Proulx said the program helps to alleviate some of the financial stress associated with the holiday season for students and their families.
“As many of us know, the cost associated with being a student isn’t cheap,” Bonner-Proulx said.
“And for many students, especially during the holiday season, the financial burden and stress becomes even more taxing.”
UMSU is offering small and large hamper sizes. The hampers will include holiday classics such as a turkey or chicken, stuffing and cranberry sauce as well as everyday food items.
Bonner-Proulx called it a “relatively high year for hamper applications.”
Those interested in building a hamper must purchase and assemble items from a list provided by UMSU to be dropped off at 101 UMSU University Centre. Buying a hamper is also an option — a $200 donation builds a small hamper and a $500 donation builds a large one.
Bonner-Proulx noted some faculties and departments will collectively participate in the holiday hamper program.
“This year and in years past there have been student associations such as Science Students’ Association, Nursing Students’ Association, that have participated extensively in this program,” she said.
“Many university departments have also participated. That being said, this year only a handful of student associations [and] student groups have taken part in the program, but their generous contribution doesn’t go unnoticed.”
UMSU is also running a toy drive and collecting new or gently used toys to accompany the hampers.
Bonner-Proulx said supporting the cause does not even have to be monetary.
“Even promotion of the program through social media platforms is always appreciated and helpful in getting the word out,” Bonner-Proulx said.
Bonner-Proulx also noted the U of M food bank, located in 518 University Centre, is available “for anyone that is in need throughout the school year.”
The service is available to enrolled students and takes donations year-round.
UMSU will assemble the hampers and will deliver them on Dec. 13 and 14.
Bonner-Proulx said the wave of support is indicative of the generosity within the U of M community.
“At UMSU we strive to give back to our students and our community, and the hamper program is a wonderful way to do that.”