Guest submission by Andrea Kotiadis
While most of us here at McGill are conscientious and involved students, constantly in pursuit of getting the most out of our university experience, are we doing enough for our overall community?
With the upcoming holiday season, and as all the bit more cheerful that we are, this letter is written to bring forth another area where we can direct this enriched sense of kindness. While many of us often look for extravagant opportunities to help the less fortunate (which nonetheless should be commended), what I would like to propose instead this holiday season is to look towards your own community and localize these efforts to benefit those around us.
Canada has recently dropped out of the Top 10 Most Developed Countries list published in United Nation’s annual Human Development Index. In my opinion, this has been largely brought upon by the growing disparity in wealth distribution: although rising GDP may signal economic growth, Canadians as a whole are not any better off. With only a small percentage of Canadians accumulating the majority of the wealth, it is becoming harder for the average Canadian to get by, especially for individuals in lower income brackets.
Poverty in Canada, although not as widespread as in other areas of the world, merits greater attention today than before because of the widening gap between rich and poor. In an effort to combat this inequity, we want people to understand that being classified as a “wealthy” country does not signify the absence of poverty. Those in poverty exist and they need help. We want the McGill community to lead by example, by highlighting local efforts that help afford basic living means to those in need and to eliminate their sense of social exclusion.
In an effort to tackle this problem, we encourage McGill students to donate to charity their excess articles of clothing or unused items still in good enough condition to be resold. By donating, you help those around you who need it most. And as pedestrian as this encouragement may seem, continual efforts and greater involvement in these so-called “small acts of kindness” can help generate enough spotlight on this issue to bring forth greater action. After all, spring cleaning is just around the corner, so why not get an early start?
More information about where and how you can help contribute can be found at the ECHO clothing bin at the Place Montreal Trust on McGill College. For those who only have a small number of items, the McGill Chaplaincy, located on the 2nd floor of the Brown Building, accepts clothing articles every Friday during its regular office hours. Just two floors above (ie. 4th floor), the International Students organization has a winter coat drive, where students can leave or take a winter coat for the winter season. Finally, the McGill Law Journal is promoting a “Coup de Main” drive, ongoing until December 2nd, where they are accepting books, food and clothing donations. While these are just a handful of the various options available to you at McGill to donate this holiday season, we also encourage any and all donations toward the local communities where you live. As we approach the season of giving, let’s remember that any gift is a worthwhile gift.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Bull & Bear.