Host of Eat St. donates to Sharing Shop

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James Cunningham donated $500 to Fanshawes Sharing Shop after his Funny Money talk on campus on September 10.

Following his Funny Money talk last on September 10, James Cunningham, host of Food Network's Eat St., donated $500 to Fanshawe's Sharing Shop program.

“Fanshawe's given so much to Funny Money, I just wanted to give back in some way,” said Cunningham. “When I found out about it, it was really a no-brainer.”

Cunningham remembered two students bringing up programs on campus, and that's when he became aware of the Sharing Shop.

“We teach about financial literacy and I think a lot of people don't understand how needy students are,” he said. “It's such a great program, and many students actually rely on it. That was a bit of a wakeup call for me.”

Cunningham liked the idea of Sharing Shop so much, he said, “Every campus should have this, and I hope every campus [does].”

Students can donate anything from dorm furniture to clothing to food.

Cunningham used food as an example of how to donate. “If every student brought one can [of food] every week or every second week, think about how much of a difference that would make to the [Sharing Shop] and the community.”

The reason behind Funny Money is to promote financial literacy for students, he said. “You're at a point in your life when you're really putting a lot of money into your [education]; you're not getting anything out of it yet.”

For students in a financial bind, Cunningham suggested visiting the Financial Aid office first.

“They're there for all kinds of questions like budgeting, credit cards. If you're having any problems at all ... please talk to these people,” he said. “I always call them financial ninjas. No question is ever too big or too small or too foolish.”

Cunningham likes to talk to students about money because it's always been a topic close to his heart.

“You're in a unique stage of your life where you're taking your first financial steps into adulthood,” he said. “Every single adult says, ‘I wish I had that when I was in school, I wish someone came to talk to me about money.'”

He approaches the topic with his comedic touch — a tactic that seems to hold students' attention. “ADD levels are so high now amongst students, so some kind of comedy, keeping them attentive that way is very essential. It's a boring topic to begin with,” he said.

But back to the Sharing Shop, he knows his donation is in good hands.

“[It's great to know] that the money that goes into the Sharing Shop goes right back to helping students,” he said. “Whatever they decide to do I'm sure they know what they're doing. It was an honour to support them.”