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Teaming up for the community

Queen’s students are helping a local organization reduce food insecurity and spread cheer this holiday season.

A Gaels truck loaded with donated food items


 

Queen’s students and staff members recently filled a pickup truck to the brim with food and household staples and delivered them to Martha’s Table, a local non-profit organization that addresses food insecurity in the Kingston community. The haul of more than 1,600 items and $1,700 in monetary donations had been collected through the annual donation drive organized by the Varsity Leadership Council (VLC), the committee comprised of and representing students involved in varsity athletics. Student-athletes from across all sports participated in collecting the items and were assisted along the way by the university and the broader Queen’s community.

“One of the goals of VLC is to help build a strong relationship between students and the Kingston community, and our annual drive for Martha’s Table is an important way for us to give back,” says Miles Brackenbury, Co-President, VLC. “Working with Martha’s Table, we identified the items most in need and focused on securing significant donations of non-perishable food items and household staples like toilet paper and laundry detergent. This initiative was truly a community effort, with student-athletes, coaches, staff, and the general student body working together for a good cause.”

Queen's Athletics & Recreation (A&R) contributed to the donation drive by organizing a series of drop-in fitness classes that were free with a food bank donation. Staff members from A&R’s Facilities team also supported the initiative by helping deliver the donations to Martha’s Table.

Martha’s Table provides community members in need with nutritious meals and a gathering space where they can find social support. It has been serving Kingston since 1997.

“This donation has become part of our holiday tradition,” says Ronda Candy, Executive Director of Martha’s Table. “We are always inspired by the students’ efforts on behalf of the community. The donation is exceptionally large and really makes an impact in our food budget and meal-planning process. There are also always treats to give away, like cookies and chocolates, that our guests truly appreciate.”

Some student-athletes also took the drive as an opportunity to spread holiday cheer. While out collecting donations, the Track and Field Team and the Cross Country Team sang carols for members of the Kingston community.

More outreach planned for the new year

VLC has plans for continuing to make an impact in the community in the new year as well.

“We look forward to continuing to build community partnerships into the second term, as we will be working with Pathways to Education to set up school visits from varsity teams, alongside additional fundraisers for local causes,” says Brackenbury. “We are so grateful for all the community support we receive in our athletic endeavors, so giving back to the community is one way we express that gratitude.”

Student impact on the community

This donation makes up part of Queen’s social and economic impact on the Kingston community and surrounding area, which has been measured in a study conducted by Deloitte. That study found that Queen’s students, faculty, and staff annually raise more than $1 million to support local causes. It also found that Queen’s students work thousands of volunteer hours for local causes.

Learn more about the community and economic impact of Queen’s students and read the full study on the Queen’s Economic and Community Impact website.

Building Community Together

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting how students across Queen’s are building community together through meaningful volunteer and fundraising efforts.