Reflections and Thanks: FHASS, Home Suite Hope, and the Holidays

By Prof. Sara Cumming

Now that we are well into the Winter semester, I wanted to take a moment to thank FHASS for your generous gifts/time/cash donations to Home Suite Hope over the holidays in December. (See my initial call for donations here.) For those of you who don’t really know me that well, this particular endeavour is one that is very close to my heart. Like the children we were able to help this year, I also grew up in extreme poverty in a lone-parent household. And like the parents of those children, I myself was also a lone-parent student through all three of my degrees. All of these years later, the holidays still induce anxiety and panic despite extreme differences in my socioeconomic status. What we in FHASS were able to do for Home Suite Hope around the holidays didn’t just help the families on the receiving end of our generosity, it also helped me. I find that nothing makes me feel better than being able to help those less fortunate than my family. This, for me, is what Christmas is now all about. I look forward to it all year.

I am especially grateful this year, as I know that all of these struggling families were joyously surprised on the day they opened the gifts we collected. Every time that I have been able to be a part of an event like this I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the response of some of the parents — I am always overwhelmed and there are always tons of tears! This year was no different.

Originally I had ‘adopted’ eight families through Home Suite Hope. Three local businesses stepped in and sponsored one family each, leaving us five lone mothers and 12 children between the ages of 3-13. Together, we were able to provide each mom with a laundry basket full of all kinds of household and personal supplies, and every child was provided with a full stocking (overflowing actually!). On top of that, each child received a minimum of three gifts (approximately $150-200 was spent per child) and we were able to provide each mom with the items on their wish lists (approximately $200 per mom). Each child also received movie passes.


My cubicle, overflowing with donations. Photo: Sara Cumming

In fact, FHASS, as a group we donated so much that I was able to take on one more family — another student at Sheridan and the head of a lone-parent family (12 year old girl, 8 year old boy). This family also received a laundry basket, two stockings and three small gifts each. On behalf of me, and those whose holidays we were able to brighten a bit this year, THANK YOU!


P.S. Our efforts were so successful that I’ve had several inquiries about collecting toiletries, supplies, and children’s gifts throughout the year instead of just before the holidays. So, if anyone picks up any great bargains/bonuses on this kind of stuff while shopping over the course of the schoolyear, or if their children get duplicate birthday gifts, etc., they can be left on my desk at Trafalgar (C204) and I will be happy to store them until the next holiday season.