Student Hamper program back for holiday season

By Madison Reynolds

The Red River College Students’ Association (RRCSA) is collecting donations for the annual Student Christmas Holiday Hamper program this month. 

The 20-year-old program helps RRC Polytech students and their families in need during the holiday season.

“Students have always struggled or fallen on hard times, so it’s important to have a resource for them that can hopefully ease some of their stress and let them focus on their schooling and enjoy the holidays,” said Selina Anderson, RRCSA’s operations coordinator. 

Donations can include a variety of goods and non-perishable foods including soup, coffee, and pasta./Madison Reynolds.

The RRCSA is asking for unwrapped toys and non-perishable food including canned soup, pasta, rice, oatmeal, coffee, and more.

They are also collecting monetary donations for grocery vouchers to students in need. Last year, the RRCSA distributed 500 e-gift cards along with the hampers. 

Donors can drop off their goods during business hours at room CM20 at the Notre Dame campus or at the Exchange District campus, room P110 until Nov. 26.

Students who want to apply for a Student Holiday Hamper can do so online starting Nov. 15.

The RRCSA will be handing out the food hampers, toys, and vouchers in December to students in need.

Since there is a limit on the RRCSA funds and resources, those who don’t receive a hamper can reach out to the Christmas Cheer Board.

The Christmas Cheer Board donates about 17,000 hampers every year to low-income, pension, student, and new Canadian applicants.

The pandemic prevented the charity from operating normally last year, but staff are excited to bring toys back to the children this holiday season, said Shawna Bell, the board’s executive director.

“The magic of the season happens in the light of a child’s eyes and if they don’t have something that just helps them recognize that people care about them and this is just a small token way of recognizing that, well it makes all the difference in the world,” Bell said.

The Christmas Cheer Board hamper applications are taken by phone. Those looking to volunteer, donate, or participate in an event can also sign up on their website.

With the holidays fast approaching, many students will not have access to food or toys for Christmas. Anderson emphasized the importance of donating to the Student Christmas Holiday Hamper program.

“Life is hard, being a student is hard, so the Students’ Association is just trying to make it all a little easier,” she said.