‘We help because it's our duty as citizens of our community’
In November, Concordia’s Aboriginal Student Resource Centre (ASRC) held its inaugural artisan sale. It featured a variety of handmade items crafted by Indigenous students and Montrealers.
The event was a huge success, attracting hundreds of people and raising nearly $2,500, five times what organizers expected.
Now, that money is going back to the community by way of care packages delivered to Chez Doris, The Open Door and the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal. The shelters serve members of Montreal’s Indigenous communities.
Each shelter received 50 packages, including personal hygiene products, hats, sexual health harm reduction kits, menstrual products, water bottles, bags and neck, hand and foot warmers.
Mikayla Cartwright, a mentor and student support assistant at the ASRC, says the idea for the packages came from a simple call to action by a student who was heavily involved in the urban Indigenous community.
The suggestion stuck with Cartwright, who has worked in a shelter and has an understanding of what people need on a daily basis.
“Often, we tend to take such (essential) items for granted,” says Cartwright. “So, we organized the Holiday Aboriginal Artisan Sale as a way to fundraise, knowing we have very talented artisans among our students.”
Cartwright says the sale was an incredible experience, noting that as much as it was a charity event, it also represented the first time some Concordians had ever interacted with Indigenous people.
“Many new connections were made and the space that we occupied on that day in the atrium of the J.W. McConnell (LB) Building afforded us many moments to demonstrate our cultures to people who may not know much about us,” says Cartwright.
“The nicest thing was to be reminded of how humble and generous Concordia’s aboriginal students are. They gave their time to this activity without receiving payment or accolades because they understand the importance of showing support for all of our community members, regardless of their lifestyle choices or economic situations.”
Cartwright says the ASRC also raised money through raffles, soup sales and donations from Concordia staff, the People’s Potato, the Concordia Student Union, AIDS Community Care Montreal, Donat Savoie, Hospitality Concordia, Seasons Catering and the Concordia Stores.
“We would absolutely love to make this an annual event,” she says. “We help where we can because it is our duty as citizens of our community.”
Find out more about Concordia’s Aboriginal Student Resource Centre.