For the seventh year in a row the Interfaith Food Bank, Lethbridge Food Bank and Salvation Army are joining forces to make sure everyone has a happy holiday season.
The organizations are working together to provide Christmas hampers and toy bundles for more than 2,000 households this year.
“Working together allows us to make sure that we are not duplicating services and that we are maximizing our resources which means that we are helping families with what they need most instead of everybody doing a tiny bit,” said Danielle McIntyre, executive director of the Interfaith Food Bank.
Standard hamper items have been identified so clients will receive the same community support regardless of the agency they deal with. The Salvation Army will be handling the toy bundles. Roughly 1,500 children aged 17 and under are expected to need toy bundles this Christmas. Donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army distribution centre located at 1605 3 Avenue South weekdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Clients are asked to register for Christmas hampers any time in November at their regular location. A website, http://www.ChristmasHope.ca, identifies the most needed food items for the hampers and people are welcome to donate at any of the three agencies or at existing collection sites in the community.
Scientist wins ag award
His ground-breaking research on the creation of glowing plants that reveal environmental pollution, medicinal poppies that are useless to heroin dealers but could be invaluable to pharmaceutical companies, and the development of hardier, non-genetically modified crops has earned Igor Kovalchuk an innovation in agricultural science award.
The University of Lethbridge professor accepted the ASTech Foundation award in Calgary on Oct. 25.
“I’m glad to know that what I do interests others and it’s recognized by peers, it’s recognized by the government,” he said, attributing the success to his team. “Obviously I’m not doing it alone, and it’s a good recognition for Lethbridge to show that we do things better than the others,” Kovalchuk added, explaining the award may attract more students to study agricultural science locally.
Originally from Ukraine, Kovalchuk moved to Lethbridge 12 years ago to do research in the field of agricultural science. Since then, his work at the university and with his own bio-tech company has led to advances in epi-genetics and bio-sensoring that have garnered wider commercial interest.
“We have found several ways how to make plants perform better in response to stress without genetically modifying them, so basically by altering them epigenetically, you can make plants to be more tolerant to pathogens, more tolerant to heat, drought, stress, for example,” he said.
He and his team are also designing plants that would glow different colours under blue light to indicate that they have been exposed to dangerous substances such as E. coli bacteria, enabling people to more easily spot water quality issues.
U of L keeps high ranking
A year after achieving its highest-ever position in the annual Maclean’s University Rankings, the University of Lethbridge maintained its top-three position in the 2014 Primarily Undergraduate category rankings list, further confirming its national strength.
The U of L either bettered or maintained its standing from the previous year in 10 of the 13 indicators Maclean’s uses to construct its rankings, marking gains in the percentage of budget it spends on student services and library acquisitions.
The university also held its second-overall ranking in medical/science grants received by faculty, resulting in a third overall ranking of 19 schools in the Primarily Undergraduate classification.
The U of L is now ranked third in the percentage of its operating budget devoted to student services, rising three spots from last year’s rankings, while maintaining its strength as a leading undergraduate research institution.