STU Santas and food bank helps parents for Christmas

    The St. Thomas University Santas supports students with children for Christmas through monetary or physical donations. (Diana Chávez/AQ)

    The St. Thomas University Santas, also known as STU Stars, is a program that supports students with children for Christmas through monetary or physical donations. This year, the organizers of the program changed.

    Sarah Calhoun, student services’ administrative assistant, said the program started around 20 years ago by the Mature Students Association on campus.

    “Student services picked it up when the Mature Students Association no longer existed. That’s where I came in,” said Calhoun in an email.

    Calhoun worried about the safety precautions that needed to be taken in her office during the pandemic. That’s when Vivien Zelazny, campus minister and head of the food bank, decided to step in.

    “We are happy to carry the torch for this year,” said Zelazny.

    Because of COVID-19, Zelazny said the food bank decided to focus on giving monetary donations instead of buying gifts. She said there’s an online portal where people can make donations that will later be sent as cheques to students in need of assistance.

    The food bank will reach out to the public for donations.

    “I know that is going to be met with really generous results,” she said.

    The applications for students in need of help from STU Santas are open until Nov. 13.

    Links for the fundraising will be open to the public on Nov. 23 through Dec. 11. People in and outside Fredericton can donate to the program.

    “It’s the same system that you would use to donate to St. Thomas more generally,” said Zelazny.

    “So you can be assured it’s a safe and secure portal.”

    Zelazny said she was overwhelmed with the responses she received from the faculty and staff at STU when she asked if they were interested in donating before she went forward with her decision of taking over the program.

    “Lots of faculty and staff really love doing it and look forward to it every year,” she said.

    “It has a wide ranging impact on campus.”

    If you want to donate in another way, contact Zelazny directly at vivienz@stu.ca.