When you’re sitting in a Zoom lecture or hanging out at home, you don’t often think about whether your classmates or neighbours are able to access adequate food.
World Food Day was on October 16th, but everyday students are struggling with food insecurity. It affects students of all backgrounds, and more than you might think.
Statistics show that nearly 2 in 5 post-secondary students experience some form of food insecurity, and it does not affect everybody equally.
Beyond economic and physical barriers to access, certain demographic groups experience significantly higher rates of food insecurity, including Indigenous students, racialized students, off-campus students, and loan recipients (Hungry for Knowledge).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity in the Western community has far from lessened. Nationally, it has increased; between 2017-2018, 1 in 8 households experienced food insecurity, and in a recent Statistics Canada survey, a conservative estimate of nearly 1 in 7 households experienced food insecurity in the past couple of months (Proof).
When talking about food security, it is important to distinguish that it entails not only a sufficient supply of food, but also access to food that is nutritious and produced in line with people’s cultural values.
USC Food Support Services is dedicated to reducing food insecurity among Western students through its food bank and food hamper services.
Non-perishable food items and menstrual products can be donated to UCC 258 during their office hours, and monetary donations are highly encouraged as they allow Food Support Services to purchase what is most needed at the food bank.
Food Support Services offers a food hamper service through which students in need can request a day or two’s worth of groceries online and pick it up in the office or from a UCC locker when it is ready.
These services are volunteer-run and completely confidential. To learn more about Food Support Services visit their website here.
If you’re interested in volunteering for USC Food Support Services or have any questions, feel free to email email@example.com.
To learn more about food insecurity in Canada, check out this article by Proof.