By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 24, 2024.
Tuesday marked the second Lethbridge College Students Association’s Clothing Drive and Giveaway event in which dozens of students had the opportunity to browse through multiple items of clothing to keep them stay warm during the winter months.
Student representative with the LCSA, Sharon Boit told the Herald during the event that this is something many international students have been asking for because many cannot afford good quality winter gear while struggling to pay for their expenses in a different country.
“We used to have international students coming into the LCSA office and they were telling us ‘I don’t have this, I don’t have that’ and we thought what we can do to help them to get started because some people don’t have pots or blankets or bed sheets,” said Boit.
Â She explained the LCSA came up with the idea of asking the community for help, to donate gently used winter gear items, household items, toys, a little bit of everything that can help a newcomer get started.
Â “It’s really expensive for international students, we pay double the price for tuition, so life here is way more expensive. The minimum is three classes and that is up to $4,000 just for tuition and in my own personal experience, I’m not that rich, I need to work a full-time job and also attend school for me to pay to be here, to survive,” said Boit.
Â She said with expenses like those, many international students find themselves struggling to pay their rent, bus, phone and food and therefore asked for help with winter clothing.
“We are so happy because the people that donated to us gave us good quality winter clothing, like a good quality winter jacket that someone can come here and get for free instead of paying $60 or more and be able to use that money for something else instead,” said Boit.
She said they were able to provide a little bit of everything for those students who needed it the most. Students were able to gather gloves, hats, shoes, jackets, pants, shirts, household items, children clothing, among other things.
Health promotion coordinator with Lethbridge College, Lori Harasem explained the event was welcoming to everyone as they sorted things.
“It started as an initiative for the international students and the queer community, especially our transgender students and became this massive, awesome explosion of keeping things out of the landfill while supporting out students. It’s wonderful,” said Harasem.
International students support coordinator Muneer Nazam said winter temperatures can be a cultural shock for some international students who have never experience temperatures in the negative numbers and they may not be prepared for the weather, so this event was very helpful for them.
“It is a good idea to have this type of events where they can come here and take whatever they need or want, like winter jackets and things that are very expensive, so it is a good idea to have these events to help our international students in those ways,” said Nazam.
He said the Lethbridge community is amazing and always ready to help, and he have received many positive comments about how some of the students have received their kindness.