Copyright © 2020 Federation of Students, University of Waterloo operating as Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association
Student Food Bank introduces a new system!
Many of our services on campus act like safety nets for students in need. You hope you’re never in the situation where you’ll need to use one, but when you do need one, you’re happy it’s there. The Food Bank is one of those. The Student Food Bank is a resource for students who are low on cash and need access to food. It's a safe environment for people to get their essentials and raise awareness for hunger or food insecurity issues in the community. WUSA understands the financial burden that many of us face with tuition and rent. Sometimes that means affording the basics like food, can be really challenging. The main issue, as Vice President Student Life Amanda FitzPatrick sees it, is that "...without regular access to food, students may be unable to focus in class or have enough energy to go about their day." WUSA understands this correlation and focuses their resources on fully supporting students' academic and personal experiences on campus.
Run entirely by volunteers, the Food Bank is usually open all days of the week, accepts donations, and has many hygiene products available as well. While the Food Bank is nothing new, they’ve decided to change up their service in 2020 with a new "modus operandi" - the hamper system! Previously, the Food Bank was a physical bank where students could "shop" the shelves like in a regular grocery store. In times where the Food Bank was closed, a replacement hamper system was available at Turnkey. This hamper system is what they are now fully switching to.
In conjunction with the Food Bank, WUSA is excited to announce such a change because they believe it will help ensure a fairer and more even distribution of resources, while also being accessible in more locations. For example, the Food Bank now, not only provides hampers at the SLC and DC Turnkey but at all satellite campus locations and at the new Peer Support Centre located on the 3rd floor of the SLC. The new hamper system also requires fewer student volunteers making general management easier for Food Bank coordinators, ultimately leading to a better service experience for those who access the system. This means they can put more effort into improving the service, rather than simply maintaining it. The expansion of service is an ongoing project, with the hope of offering even more hamper pickup locations and also implementing a new customizable online order system, to provide hampers to students with dietary restrictions.
Creating a more accessible Food Bank experience was very important to our Vice President Student Life Amanda FitzPatrick. She thinks it’s important "...that students can have one less thing to worry about. It gives students the ability to engage more fully in their education and extracurricular activities, while still taking care of their bodies." Not only does WUSA prioritize supporting us in our academic environment, they also provide services for your life outside the classroom. Ahalya and Jessica, coordinators of the Student Food Bank, are hoping to bring greater visibility to their service with these changes for greater awareness of food or hunger issues. They also love that volunteering at the Food Bank has given them the chance to give back to their home: the UWaterloo community.
Don’t be afraid to use the Student Food Bank. At one time or another we all need help. That’s why these support services exist. If you or a person you know are struggling with putting food on the table, consider visiting the Food Bank.
To learn more about the Food Bank, check out their website.