Our Food Bank recognizes the need to address larger issues underlying the function of our service. Currently, we function as an emergency model that provides temporary relief to students. However, we want to bring larger issues such as student poverty, hunger, health and debt to student’s and administration’s attention. We know that providing temporary relief does not solve the problem and we need to consider strategies on campus to provide long-term relief to students who need our assistance. In our long-term plan, the Food Bank would like to expand to provide long-term assistance. We intend to create more community awareness around our cause, uniting students in discussion and purpose. To break the stigma of Food Bank use, we need to normalize these issues. We also feel it is important to expand into providing healthier food for students. Currently, we only offer non-perishable goods. Nutrition is essential to learning and health living. We believe that a Food Bank should offer more dignity to users. By doing so, healthy fresh and frozen foods is a tenet of the Food Bank’s long-term goals. Finally, we believe that food preparation skills are essential for students. We believe it is important to provide skills for students to rely on instead of relying on others for help.
We intend to hold an event that unites all of our long-term goals. This would be called our Communal Dining event. We propose to hold this event in a public space (our student centre) for students, free of charge. We want to create a safe space to enjoy fresh, local food. Students will be provided this meal and asked to sit down with fellow students at picnic tables in this space. There, conversation will be facilitated by volunteers about student poverty, debt and the future for our Food Bank. We believe this event is important to initiate conversation about these hard issues to normalizing them among students – making it easier to discuss and eventually, easier to propose solutions.
Funded by Kitchener-Waterloo, ON (February 2015)