Sobey scholars say thanks by giving back

Posted on October 13, 2017

Smith Commerce students packed meals for schoolchildren at the Food Sharing Project in Kingston this week.
Smith Commerce students packed meals for schoolchildren at the Food Sharing Project in Kingston this week.

Kingston, ON — Every year around this time, students on the D&R Sobey Atlantic Scholarship at Smith School of Business give a gift to their benefactors: Donald Sobey, BCom’57, LLD’16, and his son Rob, BAH’88.

One year the gift was a music box; another, a set of lobster crackers. These mementos are presented to Don and Rob at an annual lobster dinner in Kingston, at which students say thank you for their scholarships.

This year’s dinner was on Thursday, and rather than give only a keepsake, students decided to follow the example of the Sobeys by doing a good deed for others in their name.

“We wanted something around education and giving back because they [Don and Rob] have given us so much. A lot of us wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for their gift,” says Bianca Toulany, Comm’18, one of 24 Commerce students on the Sobey scholarship at Smith.

To get started, Toulany and her classmates reached out to a Kingston non-profit called the Food Sharing Project. It delivers meals daily to more than 95 local schools, feeding around 14,000 schoolchildren in breakfast, lunch and snack programs a year.

The organization relies entirely on volunteers, and the Commerce students were more than happy to pitch in. On Tuesday, they spent the morning packing some 250 boxes of food to be delivered to local schoolchildren.

“It was a way for us to give back to Kingston, which has become a home, and to say thank you to Don and Rob,” says Toulany.

Established in 1999, the D&R Sobey Atlantic Scholarship is open to students from Atlantic Canada going for a Bachelor of Commerce. The scholarship is valued at $80,000 per student over the four years of the Commerce program. A scholarship for MBA students who attended high school in an Atlantic province was added three years ago.

Toulany, from Cole Harbour, N.S., says volunteering at the Food Sharing Project won’t be a one-off for the students this year. “We plan to go back and make it part of our routine.”