Young Professionals want to help feed Student Food Banks

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This Thanksgiving season, Sault Rotaract – a partner of the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie – is running a non-perishable food drive to support two local student food banks.

Both Algoma University and Sault College operate campus-based food banks – offering non-perishable food items to students who are in need. While many in the community are mindful of the community food banks around major holidays, the awareness around student food banks is much lower.

Sault Rotaract has organized collection areas at both campuses: in the Sault College Student Union (SCSU) office as well as at the Algoma University Student Food Bank (room SH 212 – on the ground floor). Donations will also be accepted at Scotiabank in the Station Mall and at the Rotary Office (364 Queen St E). Any non-perishable food items will help to stock the shelves at both the college and the university. Formal collections in the community will be
wrapped up on October 16th, but both campuses welcome donations to their food banks year-round.

Recently, reports from many major Canadian news outlets cite a rise in the number of campus food banks, and an increase in the usage of existing campus food banks across the country. According to the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) this trend is due to rising tuition fees and living costs. Stats from CFS show that the average student that uses national student loan programs (such as OSAP) graduates with $28,000 in debt.

For many, post-secondary education isn’t the luxury it once was – it’s become a necessity to enter the workforce.

According to a 2010 report on Canada’s Labour Market Future, seven in 10 new jobs created in Canada this year will require a post-secondary education credential. “We want to see students succeed,” said Megan Wigmore, President of Sault Rotaract. “It becomes incredibly difficult to get the most out of your post-secondary education when you have to decide between buying textbooks or groceries.”

While campus-specific stats are not available, a national study released last fall by Food Banks Canada showed that food bank usage, overall, has risen 25% since the 2008 recession. Nationwide, student food banks report that the most common users are mature/graduate students (who are more likely to be on their own, or to have a family) as
well as international students (whose fees are sometimes 2-3x that of in-province students).
If you are a student, and could use the support of your student food bank, please visit your student union office for information about how to access these programs.

Sault Rotaract is a local service club for 18-30 year olds, focusing on community and international service as well as professional development. Rotaract is part of the Rotary International family.