Starting November 29, students will be fasting for 24 hours to fundraise for the Campus Food Bank.
The University of Alberta’s Campus Food Bank will be hosting its sixth annual “Fast and Studious” Fundraiser starting from November 29 to 30. The 24-hour fast will begin in the Alumni Room in SUB at around noon and conclude the next day in the in SUB Atrium with another event called “November Noodles” where free macaroni and cheese will be served to 1,000 people.
All are eligible to participate and can sign up to volunteer through an online form on the food bank’s website. For the fundraiser, students will collect pledges and then participate in the fast. Timothy Fu, a member of the food bank’s fundraising committee, said the fast is a chance for participants to experience what many people on campus are undergoing constantly.
“The idea of the 24-hour fast is just for participants to get a little inside look at what food insecurity can mean,” he said. “Because for many people on campus; alumni, current students, even staff, food insecurity isn’t a choice for them.”
Food insecurity is a complex problem faced by many students but especially those with young families who find it difficult to have dependents, attend school, and pay tuition while perhaps not having a dedicated income.
“About 30 per cent of our clientele have families, and 10 per cent of the people we have are under the age of two,” said Cory Hodgson, executive director of the food bank.
The Campus Food Bank, which served more than 2,300 people last year, experienced a 30 per cent increase in clients due to the recent recession and economic downturn.
“There is less to go around, so people’s funds start to dry up,” Hodgson said. “There are people coming back to school for retraining and an education but they’re coming back after a period of being laid off … it’s maybe difficult for them so they are accessing our services while they are doing that.”
One of the services that the Campus Food Bank provides is its hamper program. Clients sign up every two weeks and receive a food hamper filled with nutritious food. Aside from families and returning students, food insecurity also includes those that can afford to eat but lack access to food with nutritional value.
“I think there are a lot more students who could potentially use our help that don’t know (about us), or think ‘I have a cupboard full of instant noodles so I am okay’ but that is not good food,” Hodgson said.