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Campus food bank seeks to feed hungry students

A food bank is currently slated as another addition to the recently approved Student Union Building. The project came to light when the SUS Advocacy committee discussed parts of the campus that are potentially lacking or could stand to branch out.

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By Melissa Spady (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: July 3, 2013

Soon hungry students will have a central place to obtain food without feeling awkward.

A food bank is currently slated as another addition to the recently approved Student Union Building. The project came to light when the SUS Advocacy committee discussed parts of the campus that are potentially lacking or could stand to branch out. VP academic Kristianne Hendricks said the idea can be credited to the fact that the committee knows students who are hungry.

“We wanted to find a way to fill that need,” she said.

UFV already has ways to help out hungry students through Student Life, but having a physical location on campus would cut out extra steps students have to go through  to receive aid. Currently students go to Student Life, who in turn goes to the Abbotsford food bank and brings back hampers for those in need.

However, most students—including the SUS board—don’t know that the service is available.

“That was something we weren’t aware of when we started talking about this,” said Hendricks, “so we will definitely be working together with them to build on the [existing] relationships.”

Asking for help may even deter some due to shyness or embarrassment.

“It is very difficult,” Hendricks said, “especially the first time.” Having a local food bank on campus would hopefully encourage those who need help to get it without worrying about feeling uncomfortable.

“You don’t need to ask other students about it because you know about it, you’ve seen it, you’ve walked past the physical location,” she explained.

The project is still in its infancy; the first part of the plan is to address the needs of the community here at UFV. Students and their immediate families will be able to seek help at the food bank, but there is an opportunity in the future to branch out.

“I’d like to see a one stop – come in with your backpack empty and leave [with it] full,” she said.

For the time being, students may still go to Student Life to get help, or if they find something tasty in the community garden by U-House they are encouraged to take it home. The community garden is maintained by a variety of people including staff from Student Life, Students for Sustainability and Oxfam groups and contains a variety of fresh grown vegetables.

“In the past year a lot of the food has gone to waste because there is no way to get the food to the students,” Hendricks said. “[They] didn’t know that was food or that they were allowed to have it.”

Hendricks added that if the project is successful they would be interested in working with the Abbotsford Food Bank to possibly have a North and South location, but for now the idea is to feed as many hungry students as they can.

Anyone who is passionate about seeing this project and others like it come together should get in touch with Kristianne at VPAcademic@ufvsus.ca.

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