Putting a new twist on Advent

By Reann Fournier, Special to The Record
Putting a new twist on Advent

Around 50 women from the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) in the Townships are coming together to collect food items in a countdown to Christmas instead of a traditional Advent calendar.
While in-person meetings have ceased for some the CFUW special interest groups, the members are coming up with creative ways to stay connected to the community by supporting local businesses, students, and now a food drive to supply families with food during the holiday season.
“There’s a lot of warmth in the group,” said Shelley Slater, the organizer for the drive. “We miss seeing each other but want to make sure people know we’re still in the community and active here.”
Typically, the CFUW focuses on education in the community. The group is made up of volunteers who host a public speaking contest yearly, mentor students and advocate for issues related to the Townships. One of their main focuses this year is care for the elderly.
This is the first year trying a ‘reverse Advent’ food drive.
Slater said she has been blown away by how interested the members immediately were. “Only two weeks ago, I shared the idea with the group and now we have about 50 women banding together to collect food to donate,” she said. “The response was outstanding.”
The original idea was to have members set aside a food item each day until Christmas Eve. “That works well if you just have one family that you’re sponsoring,” said Slater. “We wanted it to be a local thing, so I phoned food banks and added the things they need to a list.” Slater explained that the boxes are holiday geared, and members will be dropping them off in early December, allowing the food banks time to sort the items and process them properly.
Slater added that the CSUW members are actively involved in the drive in more ways than one. “We’ve partnered some members who are unable to shop with those who will shop for them, and we have several volunteers to help with deliveries.”
Moisson Estrie, Cornerstone, and the Women’s Shelter in Lennoxville, and the food bank in Magog, among several churches and other organizations in the area, will be receiving donations from members of the CFUW.
Slater said that she would be making this an annual event as long as she stays involved with the CFUW. “It would be great to see the community become involved, and I hope that it will become an annual event for the group,” she said.
If you would like to help by collecting a basket in support of local food banks and CFUW, contact Shelley Slater at shelley.slater@icloud.com .

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