Food Hampers being created by Tanzy Janvier. (Photo: Submitted)
Food Hampers being created by Tanzy Janvier. (Photo: Submitted)

USask unites: Student steps up to help home community during COVID-19

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in the province, members of the USask community have come together to support one another in these uncertain times.

Extraordinary circumstances have brought out extraordinary responses from members of our USask community. From frontline health-care workers to researchers looking for a solution to this global health threat, there are so many stories about people are working to make our home communities safer and healthy. Here is another one of the inspiring stories of our students, staff, faculty and alumni.

When a USask student began to receive messages from family and friends from her home community of La Loche on the difficulties of accessing food and other necessities, she quickly stepped up to send supplies. That determination to help during a COVID-19 outbreak has since resulted in an outpouring of aid for the northern community.

As reported by MBC Radio, Tanzy Janvier discussed receiving messages on social media expressing concerns over long lines at the grocery store and dwindling supplies.

“All of these posts from people up North on Facebook and social media saying there’s no food, we’re running out. There are no cleaning supplies, there’s no diapers, baby formula and what are we going to do? I could see the panic from my friends and family and loved ones,” Janvier told MBC Radio.

Working with classmates and staff from the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) at USask, the team raised $5,000 to purchase diapers, baby items, cleaning supplies and non-perishable goods, which were transported to La Loche and distributed to those in quarantine or self-isolation.

“People care about La Loche. I’m in Saskatoon and I was reaching out to strangers and they were doing anything and everything they could do to help out and I was just so amazed,” said Janvier, who is a member of the Clearwater River Dene First Nation.

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Other members of the USask community have also stepped up to do their part during the pandemic.

Saskatoon physician and USask College of Medicine faculty member Dr. Kendra Morrow (MD) also organized a fundraiser upon noticing the outbreak in La Loche and the need arising in the community.

“I have been following the COVID-19 situation closely, and after learning of the outbreak in La Loche, I wanted to try and do something to help and show support for this community,” Morrow said.

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The fundraiser is one of the latest ways that USask medical students have been engaged in volunteering their time to help where they can during the pandemic. From contact tracing to connecting with isolated older adults, medical students have been stepping up to help.

Dr. June Anonson (PhD), a registered nurse, researcher and professor at USask’s College of Nursing Prince Albert campus, similarly volunteered to help with one of Saskatchewan’s largest coronavirus outbreaks.

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“I am a registered nurse and right from the beginning of my career, I always said that if the need is there, I would help in any way that I could,” said Anonson.

Share your stories with us: We are collecting the stories of resilience and good spirit from our USask community. Please send story ideas and photos to

As a community it is critical that we support each other and remain respectful during what is a difficult time for all of us. Please follow all guidelines and take all precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.

How you can help our students during the COVID-19 pandemic:

For the latest developments and information about the University of Saskatchewan's response to COVID-19, please go to

The University of Saskatchewan is undertaking critical research and contributing to global efforts to combat COVID-19. The University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO-InterVac) is a world leader in developing vaccines and technologies to combat infectious diseases. Your support of the COVID-19 Research Fund supports the increased efforts of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. Donate now.

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