Indigenous student holiday hampers program celebrates ten years

December 21, 2021 - This year Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Indigenous Strategy team handed out over 200 holiday hampers to Indigenous students across the province. The 2021 Indigenous student holiday hamper program is presented by Farm Credit Canada (FCC) and provides financial and mental health supports for students.

“The Indigenous Strategy team launched the holiday hamper program in 2011. The holidays can be a stressful time of year and we want to ensure that our Indigenous students are able to enjoy the holiday season,” shares Deanna Speidel, Sask Polytech Indigenous Strategy director. “Within ten hours of launching the 2021 holiday hamper program, we received over 200 applications. This is the first year we had to close the application process down early.”

This year’s Indigenous student holiday hampers will be provided as e-transfers to support students during the holiday season and brighten their spirits.

“FCC has been part of the holiday celebrations with Sask Polytech for the last several years. We enjoy participating in such a great cause and helping students celebrate their well-earned holiday break,” says Shaun Soonias, FCC director of Indigenous Relations.

“I am extremely grateful for my Sask Polytech holiday hamper,” says Amberly, Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing student. “This hamper will allow me to focus on preparing for my upcoming finals and help me afford to travel to see family this holiday season.”

“This holiday hamper will help me support my family a little more throughout the holiday season and not feel so financially stressed,” says Brandon, Resource and Environmental Law student. “Thank you so much for taking the weight off of my shoulders.”

“Thank you so much. Now I will be able to buy food for a Christmas supper for my daughter and grandchildren,” says Corine, Food and Nutrition Management student. “Thank you!!!”

“This hamper means my kids will have a happy holiday,” says Kaila, Business student. “This is always a hard time of year and receiving this special hamper means I don't need to worry about finances, even if only for a week.”

In addition to the holiday hamper program, Indigenous Strategy organized several in-person and virtual holiday events, including the 10 Days of Holiday Giveaways sponsored by AMI Supply. Students were invited to daily events taking place in early December over the noon hour including a virtual scavenger hunt, Cree for Beginners, holiday crafts, holiday stress busters and an end-of-year celebration with Cree carols, hot chocolate and treats. Indigenous students in attendance had the opportunity to win a gift card.

“Indigenous students are struggling with many of the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Speidel. “It feels good to help these students who are working so hard to reach their education and career dreams. Thank you to Farm Credit Canada and AMI Supply for your generosity and support! You are making a difference in the lives of our students and their families this holiday season.”

Thank you to all of the 2021 Indigenous Student holiday sponsors: AMI Supply, Farm Credit Canada, Tolko Industries and K+S Potash Canada!

Happy Holidays from Indigenous Strategy! Marii Krismas! miyo-manitowi-kîsikanisik!

Published December 2021