UTM Gives: Coming together to help out, give back

Stacks of canned food on a table with a sign that reads: UTM Library Food for Fines
Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 12:16pm
Blake Eligh

In the sometimes hectic lead up to the winter holidays, students, staff and faculty at U of T Mississauga have opened their hearts, wallets, pantries and closets to give back to our community.

The annual “Food for Fines” initiative at the Hazel McCallion Learning Centre was a smashing success this year. Now in its fifth year, the U of T Libraries initiative encourages students to donate non-perishable food items in lieu of library fines during the last week of November. For every item students bring in, we deduct two dollars from their fines to a maximum of twenty dollars,” says Shayne Chan, assistant supervisor of information and loan services, who organizes the event at UTM.

“It’s very popular, and the response has been overwhelming. Students bring more items of food than their fines are worth,” Chan says. This year, the UTM students donated a total 921 items, accounting for 64 per cent of all donations collected at U of T libraries. The donations go to local Eden Food For Change food bank, which serves the western Mississauga. The initiative runs at the same time as the Library’s other big fundraiser—the annual United Way book sale, which raised more than $3,800 for the UTM campaign.

Photo of IMI staff with a table of wrapped gifts for donationStudents created other ways to give back. The men’s varsity basketball team has led several donation initiatives over the semester. The team recently hosted a senior boys high school basketball tournament, and collected non-perishable food items from participants for donation to the Mississauga Food Bank. UTM varsity athletes are currently running a clothing drive accepting donations of warm clothing at the varsity office in the RAWC until January 19, 2018. “Our varsity teams are leaders on campus and in the community, and we want visiting students to see that our teams do more than play sports,” says Brittany Tierney, assistant program coordinator with UTM’s Athletics & Recreation Department. “Our athletes volunteer and they make a difference in the community.”

Staff and faculty at the Institute for Management & Innovation wrapped up the second annual “IMI Giving + Sharing Social.” The event, which featured a staff potluck and games, collected 65 gifts for children involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel.

Erindale College alumnus Dean Fox rallied alumni and other friends to raise $140,000 for the Peel Regional Police “Toys for Tots” campaign to provide gifts to children in the community.

Looking for a way to give your own gift? There’s still time to contribute to the UTM United Way campaign, which is close to hitting its goal of $72,000. Throughout the fall semester, the campaign raises awareness and funds to combat poverty in Peel, through campus events and employee contributions.