Nov. 30, 2020

’Tis the season to celebrate with Santa

Reimagining a campus fundraising tradition means students still benefit from emergency food hampers
Santa and Rex having holiday treats
Santa and Rex having holiday treats

With no ice at the Olympic Oval this month and the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, UCalgary Alumni’s longstanding Skate with Santa tradition — in support of the UCalgary Students’ Union Campus Food Bank — has been reimagined this year.

The word from the North Pole is that Santa got a little nervous about coming to campus — precisely why you won’t find him skating laps around the world’s fastest ice with hundreds of alumni families and friends. That, however, doesn’t mean this popular annual event won’t proceed.

“It most certainly will,” says Jennifer DeDominicis, BA’99, director of alumni programs and partnerships. “Our students’ need for food has not diminished. If anything, it’s grown. That’s why we've partnered with the SU Food Bank, local, alumni-owned businesses and our partners at Manulife, who will match donations up to $4,000 as part of our new Celebrate with Santa initiative. With community support, we are hoping to raise $5,000 to provide emergency food relief for our community.” 

In return, all donors will receive a special holiday package that includes: 

  • A $10 discount code for the Silk Road Spice Merchant (online only) 
  • A $10 discount code for Crave Cupcakes (online only)
  • A two-for-one coupon at Bowness Park that can be applied toward skate rentals or ice bikes

In a typical year, families of all ages would lace up to skate with Santa and Rex around the Oval — topped off with hot cocoa, cookies, Christmas crafts and games galore. The generosity of our alumni community meant that we collected thousands of canned and boxed items for the SU Campus Food Bank. The service has been running on campus for 27 years and is used by about 550 students annually, says Marcus Plottel, BA’11, MA’14, the SU’s external communications specialist. Last year, reports Plottel, the food bank counted a total of 13,797 food item donations.

But 2020 is far from a typical year, thanks to COVID-19, and the food bank now offering curbside pickup of its seven-day emergency hampers. Besides collecting non-perishables, the SU Campus Food Bank also uses monetary donations to buy fresh fruits and veggies, dairy products and other perishables, ensuring that each hamper is nutritionally balanced, based on Canada's Food Guide. 

From now until Dec. 18, this year’s Celebrate with Santa will be a UCrowdfund campaign, ensuring students receive support and, in turn, those who contribute will receive a special holiday package from the jolly ol’ gent himself. Better yet, the first $4,000 raised will be matched by our friends at Manulife so your gift will have double the impact.

“During this holiday season, we are trying to figure out ways to preserve some of our beloved traditions like Skate with Santa,” says DeDominicis. “We hope this year’s UCrowdfund campaign will provide our students with generous hampers and, in turn, that our donors enjoy gifts from Santa.” 

Holiday Treats

Help feed our campus community with a donation that will fill an emergency food hamper for the UCalgary Students’ Union Campus Food Bank. Your donation will be matched by Manulife (up to $4,000). When you support a UCrowdfund campaign such as Celebrate with Santa, 100 per cent of your donation goes to the project. After making your gift, spread the word and share your support on social media and throughout your networks. The more people that know about a project, the more students we can help this holiday season. Donate to this fund.

Santa and Rex making donations to the SU

Santa, left, and UCalgary mascot Rex bring food bank donations to the students' union offices.