Student food security campaign launches province-wide this Tuesday I donate – Dal News


Twice a week, the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) Food Bank opens its doors on the lower level of the Student Union Building to serve college students who have difficulty accessing and paying for groceries. Over 300 students visit the food bank during its opening hours, which means there are plenty of boxes to prepare and many different needs to meet, from halal meat to vegan options. And when the last box is distributed at the end of one day, it’s time to start planning the next one.

“On the one hand, it’s amazing that we operate a full-service food bank,” says Madeleine Stinson (pictured left), president of DSU. “At the same time, we shouldn’t have to be. We need more structural and sustainable resources in place so that students can easily access more affordable and better quality food. “

But Stinson knows that, if not for the food bank, these students can struggle to stay healthy, focused, and active. And she says the Food Security Project – a Giving Tuesday initiative led by Dalhousie alongside universities across Nova Scotia – is playing an important role in DSU’s efforts to meet that need.

An opportunity to give

Giving Tuesday takes place every year just after American Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber ​​Monday. It is an international popular movement that encourages and amplifies small acts of kindness and generosity.

The food security project was a great success on I give on Tuesday 2020: Dalhousie has partnered with the J&W Murphy Foundation, which has agreed to match all donations up to $ 20,000, and has gone further by offering similar matches to other Nova Scotia universities that have joined. joined with Dalhousie to support students. A total of $ 165,000 was raised across the province. In Dal alone, the community came together to raise $ 71,000 for student-led food security programs, significantly exceeding the original fundraising goal of $ 40,000.

The Food Security Project campaign is back for this year’s Giving Tuesday (November 30), with continued support from the foundation. The goal is to raise $ 50,000 for Dalhousie – funds that will go a long way in ensuring that all Dal students can access the nutritious foods they need when they need it.

“We couldn’t be more excited to join our university partners again this year to help ensure post-secondary students have access to regular and nutritious meals, which is a fundamental right,” says Lisa Murphy , who co-directs the J&W Murphy Foundation alongside his sister Karen Spaulding.

Last year nine Nova Scotia universities joined in the project and this year it has expanded to now also include NSCC and Université Sainte-Anne. “We are delighted to welcome Nova Scotia Community College and Université Sainte-Anne this year. The impact of this initiative will be felt on campuses across the province.

A growing need

The degree to which students rely on the DSU’s food bank is likely to increase over the coming months. The COVID-19 pandemic has created supply chain issues that impact food availability and costs. Inflation rates are at their highest for 18 years. And the cost of groceries has increased by up to 10 percent in the past six months, according to Statistics Canada data cited in a Dal Agri-Food Analysis Laboratory Report.

All of these developments have significant impacts on food security – the availability of food and the ability to access it. Students who have reliable access to nutritious and affordable food are generally in better mental and physical health, which allows them to be successful in their studies. Corn campus research across the country shows that 39 percent of post-secondary students are food insecure.

“The students joke about getting by with coffee and energy drinks, but that’s not always a joke,” Stinson says. “It’s their diet, so anything they eat has that nutritional value or less. When you think about the cascading health and other effects of this lifestyle, you realize how much that could change if students had access to a more balanced diet.

Make the difference

Donner Tuesday’s efforts have a tangible benefit for students who use the food bank. For example, funds raised help cover a food bank manager’s salary, groceries, and general expenses. In this way, Giving Tuesday has a tangible advantage. But Wyatt Noel, office manager of the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office (DSUSO), says the importance of Giving Tuesday goes beyond that.

“Investments like these have tangible benefits for students, such as improved health and well-being,” he says. “All of these benefits will have a multiplier effect that will benefit students and our communities. “

Stinson agrees, adding, “The people who support I Give Tuesday are not only helping students succeed, but also in Dalhousie, as today’s students could be the faculty, board members or the president of tomorrow. Or they could go out and change the world in other ways. You don’t just invest in students; you invest in the community.

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