December 22, 2009 | Manitoba
"There is so much giving around here, you think this was the North Pole." That was the comment of one student as she saw the mountains of presents and food items that have overflowed the front desk reception area at CDI College of Business, Technology, Health Care.
CDI College with its commitment to being part of the community, is stepping up to the plate to help Winnipeg during the Yuletide Season. "This is a college where everyone has their reasons to celebrate," Tahl East, "Campus Director said," So if you celebrate the Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas or any other December holiday, we invite you to be part of our community of giving."
There are two mounds of food and presents in the CDI College reception area. "One is for our annual food bank drive for Winnipeg Harvest" East said, "And the other is the hamper for the family we are helping."
Last year, CDI College successfully raised over 1200 pounds of food for Winnipeg Harvest. "That is over half a ton." East proudly exclaimed, "We won the competition we had for all the colleges in Canada." Amid the piles of food stands the trophy which Winnipeg is working hard to keep this year.
"We are also sponsoring a family, a parent with two children," East said, "Also they have a pet bunny." The college has been collecting a separate drive but East mentioned that on the last day, there will be a shopping run to pick up the turkey and other perishables.
"The students will be able to meet her when we deliver the food and presents." East said, adding that this allows the students to see a human being receiving the food.
CDI College is also involved in many other worthy causes this holiday season. Huge tins of pennies and other coins are in the front as part of the drive for the "Pennies from Heaven" campaign.
"In previous years, we had sock drives and clothing drives to help the homeless," East said, revealing that they were student initiated and organized.
"This year, one of our Accounting and Payroll students has organized a campaign to have students and staff volunteer to deliver hampers for the Christmas Cheer Board." East said. As well, several students from the Addictions and Community Services Worker Program are also volunteering at the Cheer Board as well as Winnipeg Harvest.
It is all not just about charity and giving at CDI College this holiday season. CDI College has had its share of cheer, both classroom based and school wide. Some instructors have had potluck lunches and small parties for their classes after an exam or just before going out on practicum. "Don't bring a lunch or plan a supper," laughed one student, "You will not leave these potluck events hungry."
Each seminar room and computer lab is taking part in the Annual CDI College Door Decorating Contest. "We have students from all over the world," East said. "We have a wealth of creativity and diversity as each group of students shares their culture and their happiness in the holidays."
Some of the decorating does not stop at the doors, "You should see some of these entries, and they overflow and take over the hallway around. Last year, the networking students put in a mock tech-tree and a false fireplace," admitted East. "Other teams this year are showing no slowing down."
Even though CDI College will be closed from Christmas to New Years for classes, the feeling that the students and staff share through their festivities and their good deeds will bring warmth to the college but also to many less fortunate in Winnipeg.