Before the University shut down for the break, Concordia staff celebrated with office parties and restaurant lunches, but many also acknowledged the season by giving to others.
Lise Tavares (Information Services) helps coordinate a food drive to benefit two Montreal shelters, Chez Doris and Benedict Labré House, using the information desk in the lobby of the Henry F. Hall Building as a drop-off point.
"In past years, we would give four boxes each to the two shelters," Tavares said. "This year, it was 12 boxes each! I get goosebumps just thinking about it."
The pre-Christmas drive was started by the downtown-based Information Services Department eight or nine years ago, then grew to include the Loyola Campus, thanks to the initiative of Kathleen O'Connell, Psychology Department Administrator.
This time around, the staff of Distribution Services added their muscle and expertise to the task, offering to pick up donations in departments around the University. In addition, Pat Pietromonaco and others spent a morning helping sort the non-perishable food items.
Buoyed by the success of the food drive, Tavares and Chaplain Daryl Lynn Ross are thinking of putting on another drive around Easter (April 2 to 5).
The chaplains at Campus Ministry, who this year changed the Spirit of Christmas Fund to the year-round Emergency Food Fund, nevertheless experienced an intense pre-holiday period, as they collected $11,677 in cash donations for needy students, bringing to $13,187 the total for donations since June.
During the campaign, the Bookstore and Computer Store staff raised more than $330, and the Alumni Office and Office of the Rector raised more than $450. Other departments simply put out
a box or a cup at their holiday party and raised an average of $75 each.
A longstanding pre-Christmas tradition among library staff is their Christmas Auction. This year, $2,500 was raised for eight local charities and needy students.
A total of 22 sponsors, some of them Concordians, many of them nearby businesses, contributed items. They were auctioned to the participants, who also enjoyed a home-cooked buffet lunch.