York Lions' digital holiday drive smashes donation record

In a year where families needed it the most, the York University Lions banded together to create a new, 2020-friendly system to give back to local families this past holiday season through the Adopt-a-Family program.

The initiative returned for its sixth year of operation with modified goals in order to safely carry out the program in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time since the program’s inception, both physical and online monetary donations were taken this year.

The new program resulted in a record-breaking donation total, with $6,500 raised for nine different families in the community.

“This year, we wanted to ensure we could still facilitate the Adopt-a-Family program and brighten the holiday season of less fortunate members of our community even with the onset of the pandemic,” said Tara Leithead, president of the York Sport Council. “We actually ended up fundraising even more than last year. We hope that we helped families in need have an amazing holiday season after this unprecedented year.”

Adopt-a-Family recipient family (photo courtesy Jane/Finch Community Cntre)

Adopt-a-Family recipient family (photo courtesy Jane/Finch Community Centre)

As with any new initiative, the Adopt-a-Family program required multiple different departments across campus to come together as a group and execute the modified program.

Leithead thanks all the contributing members of the York family – Athletics & Recreation, Community Support Services, Student Engagement, Student Accessibility Services and Student Counselling and Development – for their support and guidance in pulling off the holiday drive during an extraordinary year.

“Our partner departments were instrumental for the program’s execution in a time where champions were needed in order to carry out the program effectively,” Leithead said.

York Sport Council also sends out a special thanks to Sport Council member Frankie St. Louis for her valuable contributions to the project, and to community outreach coordinator Lauren Walter for her diligence in keeping social media followers updated and informed.

Of the many generous contributions to the drive, York men’s volleyball was the most notable, raising a total of $150.

Run through the Jane/Finch Centre, the Adopt-a-Family program focuses on helping families in need enjoy a special holiday season. The focus of the program is to provide warm clothing, bedding, boots, cooking items and toys for children.

The York Sport Council has worked tirelessly to connect with community members in the neighbourhoods immediately surrounding the University. The Adopt-a-Family program is another example of the great community leadership on display across the GTA by so many Lions student-athletes.

Those interested in learning more about the Jane/Finch Centre’s community support initiatives can visit their website at www.janefinchcentre.org.

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