World Youth and Student Travel Conference delegates help one of Canada’s largest food banks

Sep 27, 2017

Today, 43 delegates visiting Montreal for the 2017 World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC), a three-day global travel trade event, assisted Moisson Montreal, a food bank providing food aid to over 137,000 people in the Montreal area each month, nearly 45,000 of whom are children.

“We organise a volunteer project each year because we want to make a positive contribution to the local community, and especially help youth. Attending WYSTC is a great way to make an impact on young people on a global level through travel and cultural exchange, but volunteering with Moisson Montreal also gives the opportunity to benefit youth right in our conference host city,” said Polina Jones, Cultural Exchange and Study Abroad Sector Manager for WYSE Travel Confederation.

Volunteers helped to pack food, sort fruit and vegetables, label goods and move and pack boxes for Moisson Montreal.

Moisson Montreal is the largest food bank in Canada. An estimated 29% of families living in the area have a household income under the minimum wage. Surprisingly, very few of the food recipients are homeless (no more than 1%) and 49% of people asking for help are working and run short of money for food by the end of the month.

Ramsay Kerr and Alex Seigel from adventure and education tour operator The Dragon Trip rolled up their sleeves and took part in this year’s WYSTC volunteer project. 

Ramsay attended WYSTC in San Diego, while this is Alex’s first time experiencing WYSTC. They volunteered because they arrived a day early, are here to meet as many travel industry people as possible, and wanted to give the same way their young travel clients do through volunteering.

Joanna from education and volunteer programme provider Go Overseas, also a first-time WYSTC delegate, learned from her CEO that the annual WYSTC volunteer project is a ‘fun thing to do at the start of WYSTC’.

Joanna suggested that any conference of 500 or more attendees should have a volunteer programme like WYSTC. She has attended many conferences, but this was the first time she has been able to give back so directly to the community hosting the conference.

“As a company running volunteer programmes, it’s important to not just talk, but also walk,” said Joanna.

WYSTC delegates from 14 countries were represented in this year’s volunteer activity. The largest numbers of volunteers came from USA, Australia, and South Africa. Volunteers also came from a variety of travel sectors, including volunteer travel, internships and work experiences, accommodation, education abroad, au-pair, air travel and adventure travel.