Cambrian College's nursing students helping Sudbury's less fortunate this Thanksgiving

Students from Cambrian College are helping make Thanksgiving a bit cheerier for the less fortunate in Sudbury.

Brown paper bags filled with lunches part of students' plan to make a difference

Third year nursing students Ginette Thaxter (l) and Lauren Davidson spent Wednesday afternoon handing out paper bag lunches to downtown Sudbury's homeless community. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Students from Cambrian College are helping make Thanksgiving a bit cheerier for the less fortunate in Sudbury.

Six members of the nursing program teamed up with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to distribute bagged lunches in downtown Sudbury yesterday.

The foundation's Cori-Lynn Lemaitre said the students wanted to focus on improving the health and wellness of the less fortunate.

Their first step: seeking advice from those who operate the Blue Door Soup Kitchen.

"[We] just inquired with them about homelessness downtown and what could we do," Lemaitre said. "If these brown paper bag lunches would be something that they think would work in the community, and they were very supportive with that."

'Everybody has a story'

Third-year students Lauren Davidson and Ginette Thaxter said they came up with the idea of assisting downtown Sudbury's homeless population after some brainstorming.

"Everybody has a story,and they're not as heard as everyone else," Thaxter said. "And I think they need the attention. I think they need the love."

Cori-Lynn Lemaitre of the Sudbury Heart and Stroke Foundation teamed up with Cambrian College's nursing program to deliver bagged lunches to Sudbury's homeless. (Markus Schwabe CBC)

After handing out a few of the bags in the downtown core, Thaxter said you could feel the gratitude from the recipients.

"It's been nice," she said. "You can see they're happy and enjoying it."

Each package contained a sandwich, vegetables, dessert and a toothbrush for dental care, and all leftovers will be donated to the Blue Door Soup Kitchen.

Davidson said until recently, she hadn't considered community nursing.

"After this placement, you get to see all the different aspects of what a community nurse does," Davidson said. "I think all six of us have enjoyed this placement so I think we can all see a future as a community nurse."

She said the class just went out with a positive attitude and hoped for the best. She said she's glad they made the effort, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner.

"A lot of people who are less fortunate don't have the means to put on a big dinner," she said. "We just want to bring that to them, wanted them to know that we're out there to support them."

It's like down here, you can't starve

One of the program's recipients, Peter Pine, said the sight of people lending a hand was "incredible."

"It's like down here, you can't starve, there's always somebody giving," Pine said. "These ladies are doing a special thing. I don't expect that every day. But when it does come around, it's the greatest."

Listen to the interview on CBC's Up North

With files from Martha Dillman