Slideshow image
Slideshow image
nav image
nav image

Eating can sometimes be the last thing on a student’s mind when preparing for exams. But, for 10 days this April, students were invited to drop into Holy Trinity Anglian Church to have a bowl of soup or chili and unwind.

Annie Randall, parish coordinator for young adults, newcomers and social justice initiatives, and the Rev. Danielle Key, rector, welcomed students on weekday afternoons for 10 days during Exams Week.

Located 20 minutes by foot or five minutes by bike or bus from the university campus, the parish has communal space with comfy couches and a TV, as well as quiet rooms for studying.

As a mature student and mother of four, Randall who is a choral scholar and sings at Holy Trinity on Sundays, knows that students can struggle with finding affordable, wholesome meals. 

“The cost of living is going up and the cost to stay in dorms, the only option for many international students, is astronomical,” she says.

“I thought exam week would be a great time to feed some of these kids who tell me they come to choir rehearsal in the evening without having eaten since morning, and to give them the best possible chance going into exams.” 

The parish wholeheartedly embraced the initiative by offering to make soup, or donate ingredients and buns. “The support blew me away. This is a very community-focused congregation,” says Key.

The many university students who have started coming to church are offering themselves in service to help with events like the parish rummage sale, Key says. “This is a beautiful example of how we can give back to them. Whether they need food in their bellies, a safe place to study, or to hang out –- whatever they need is what we want to give them.”

She adds that any food left over from the drop-ins will be stored in reusable containers. “People can come grab a meal out of one of the fridges, nuke and eat it and throw the container in the dishwasher.” 

Randall hopes word about the soup drop-in spreads beyond the church’s social media community to the general student population. In fact, an ad was spotted by a student who was not a member of the church on the University of Alberta Reddit page. Key looks ahead to the next exam period when she hopes to partner with other churches in the university area.  

Meanwhile, Randall planned a young adults’ game night in May and she will continue to brainstorm fun ways to bring young adults of faith together.

“We’re finding out, a lot of times people just want a safe place to go and hang out,” says Key. “We can give them that.”

To find out more about the upcoming game night, email Annie Randall at