King's looks to give back and help less fortunate
December 14, 2021
While many members of the King’s community are reflecting on the blessings they have in their lives, they have taken an opportunity to recognize that many others may be struggling, especially as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to play out across our area and around the world. As in years past, the students, faculty and staff have taken this holiday season as another opportunity to give back by launching and supporting numerous initiatives.
Examples of those initiatives, designed to support those less fortunate in our community include:
Step Into Christmas/Giving Tree
King’s Campus Ministry collected new wool socks, new waterproof gloves/mitts, new toiletries, new warm hats, gift cards, etc., to be put into shoeboxes and given out at St. Joseph’s Hospitality Centre to those who are less fortunate.
Giving Trees, placed in the Student Life Centre and Wemple Hall foyer were adorned with paper ornaments naming an item for the shoe boxes. Members of the King’s community were invited to take an ornament home, purchase the item listed and return the item to the boxes under the tree.
There was also a shoe box drive held by King's University College Students' Council and King's Political Science Students' Association in the King Student Life Centre (SLC).
The Alumni and Development department also took part, setting up a table outside of Alumni Court on December 3.
“Step into Christmas has become an annual tradition for London and area alumni. Due to the pandemic, we modified the event to a drive-thru format allowing alumni and community members to safely support Campus Ministry’s initiative and give generously during a time when the need in our community is great,” says Jana Gordon, Executive Director, Alumni and Development.
Through the generosity of the entire King’s community, almost 400 shoe boxes were filled this year. “The desire to support those in need, and concretely show them that they matter, and are loved, is the motivation for this bounty,” says Annette Donovan Panchaud, Liturgical Facilitator for King’s Campus Ministry.
The King’s community provided not only donations but gave of time during a season filled with demand such as exams, essays, and plans for the holidays.
“Countless numbers of students, alumni, staff and faculty have supported our efforts to wrap and distribute these gifts,” says Panchaud. Volunteers, adhering to King’s COVID-19 protocol, wrapped the shoeboxes at the Parish Hall during the week of December 7-10, 2021.
Panchaud says the clients of the St. Joseph’s Hospitality Centre eagerly await the distribution of the shoeboxes, as many say it will be the only gift they receive this Christmas.
“Everyone is filled with gratitude. I am so grateful that King’s is able to bring this joy into people’s hearts,” says Panchaud. King’s Campus Ministry wants to thank the King’s community for being able to make difference in people’s lives.
United Way Campaign
Due to COVID-19, the 2021 United Way Campaign was held without the traditional on-campus events, such as KINGO and the Silent Auction. However, King’s faculty and employees were encouraged to making an online pledge, whether it was a one-time pledge or a bi-weekly or monthly payroll contribution. To date, the King’s community had pledged approximately $14,000 to the United Way. Pledges can continue to be made until December 17, 2021.
Cheerful Community Cards
The Social Action Committee launched their “Cheerful Community Cards” project. As part of the project, members of the King’s community pledged to donate holiday cards to give to residents in multiple long-term care homes, along with COVID-19 and intensive care patients, to spread holiday cheer this season.
A drop off box for people to place their cards is located in King's Cardinal Carter Library foyer until Friday, December 17, 2021.
The members of the Social Action Committee realized the holiday season can be isolating, and that feeling of isolation increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. Roshawnah Forde, a 4th year student, says the Social Action Committee “felt it was our duty to reach out and strengthen the connection between those who are most vulnerable to the effects of isolation and loneliness during this time and the King's community.”
The Cheerful Community Cards program collected 450 cards in 2020. “Many of the Long-Term Care home representatives tell us that the cards were kept on residents' walls for months and brought them great happiness and cheer," says Forde.
LIFE*SPIN Clothing Drive
Social Justice and Peace Studies students joined with LIFE*SPIN, a London non-profit that seeks to empower and support low-income families, to gather donations of gently used clothing, especially women’s clothing.
St. Joseph’s Hospitality Centre
King’s Campus Ministry continues to lead support for the St. Joseph’s Hospitality Centre throughout the year. Pre-packaged, non-refrigerated food donations such as juice boxes, granola bars, raisins, fruit cups, etc. can be donated. Volunteers are also needed to hand out lunch bags at the Centre. Watch your weekly issues of Things@King’s for updates on future opportunities to become involved in this community-driven initiative.
The members of the King’s community should be proud of their efforts to make Christmas a little bit merrier for those in our community who might otherwise go without. Whether it was donating money, food, clothing or their own time, these endeavours have not gone unnoticed. Instead, it has made the less fortunate feel loved and cared for, at a time of the year when it is needed most. For everyone who made the effort to support one of these initiatives: Thank you!