UMSU gearing up holiday hamper program

Student union incentivizing donation efforts for annual food and toy drive

Photo by Miguel Yetman.

or many students on campus, the holiday season is more worrying than it should be. To help out, UMSU’s holiday hampers are back for another year.

As tuition and course material fees increase across Canada, food bank usage for students is rising as well. The situation is so severe at the University of Calgary that its food bank is running out of food.

UMSU VP community engagement Kyra Fanning said that she wants to ensure that students can focus on studying for exams in December, instead of having to worry about providing for their families or going hungry over the holidays.

“We just want to take a little bit of stress off of their plates during the holidays,” said Fanning, who is acting as head of this year’s holiday hamper program.

“Obviously we can’t write their exams for them or do that sort of thing but this is something that we can [do]. All they have to do is a little application process and we can hopefully help them and provide for them.”

Applications opened Monday and will be received until Nov. 22.

The hampers will supply a family with food — including the ingredients for a traditional holiday meal — and wrapped gifts for children.

Every year, like the year-round food bank, success relies heavily on donations of food and toys from students and faculty.

UMSU is holding a competition this holiday season between the faculties to incentivize fundraising. Donation collection stations will be put in place, and every food item or donation will count for points.

The winning faculty will have a meeting catered by Degrees.

This year, the long-standing initiative for U of M students and families has made some changes.

In the past, UMSU offered only small and large hampers. This year, a medium size is being introduced for families of three to five people to provide enough food for the anticipated demand of between 115 to 150 hampers.

UMSU will be publishing a list of food needed to fill the various sizes on its website and social media outlets.

The goods will be packed and assembled into hampers by UMSU staff and volunteers between Dec. 9 and 11 so they are ready for pick up or delivery Dec.12 to 14.


Anyone interested in volunteering or applying for a hamper can email