Campus Life

U of L student rolls out unique fundraiser for winning tabs

Winning a coffee or donut in Tim Hortons’ Roll Up the Rim to Win contest can be a bright spot for many Canadians feeling the grip of an unending winter.

Breanna Schoenroth, a third-year nursing student at the University of Lethbridge, was moved to share her bright spot with others after a class assignment during her first year of study.

“One of our assignments was to call a community service in Lethbridge and interview them to learn a bit about their organization, see what challenges and obstacles they face and what’s going well,” says Schoenroth. “I had YWCA Harbour House—they take in women and children who are fleeing domestic violence. It was really humbling to hear about the struggles they were facing as an organization and that they had to turn away a lot of people due to lack of funding and space. That really bothered me.

“I’m a student but I wanted to do something. It was during roll-up-the-rim season and I had won on my cup, so I just came up with the idea of people being able to donate their wins to little donation boxes that would go on to be delivered to women and children at Harbour House.”

She told friends and family about her idea and, with their support and encouragement, she launched the fundraiser last year. People donated their winning tabs and even some gift cards. Schoenroth made four deliveries last April, each consisting of about 20 hot beverages and the same number of donuts, to the front desk at Harbour House. On her last delivery, Schoenroth was allowed to deliver the goodies to the residents herself.

“I was carrying the doughnuts and walking through the door when I saw this little boy’s face completely light up because he knew I’d be coming and he knew what was in the box,” she says. “That was probably one of my favourite moments ever. It was something so simple—it was a doughnut—but he just lit right up. It might have been just a second of happiness for him that day because he was facing some really hard things that a kid should never have to face.”

The success of last year has motivated Schoenroth to run the fundraiser again this roll-up-the-rim season but on a bigger scale. She has donation boxes set up at the U of L Students’ Union office, the Lethbridge College Students’ Association office, the Nicholas Sheran and ATB ice arenas, Fuel Lifestyle and Performance, a CrossFit gym located at #10, 4005 7 Ave. S., and Live Better Health & Fitness, a fitness centre located at 20-3493 6 Ave. N. A fellow nursing student has offered to take a box to her former high school in Chestermere.

“My hope for this is to build it to a point where it’s big enough for every city that has a women’s shelter,” says Schoenroth. “If it does well in Chestermere, that’s a good sign that I may be able to build this a bit bigger.”

Her experience with the fundraiser showed her it’s possible to brighten someone’s day with a simple idea and a little investment of time.

“Anybody who comes up with an idea, I think they should just go for it and be creative, especially if they know their idea could help somebody,” she says. “Part of the reason why people don’t go after things is because of fear. I think they just need to find a way to overcome that because they can change the world with something really small.”