Looking at a hungry holiday

TRUSU expects food bank demand to rise in December

TRUSU is preparing for the annual upswing in food bank demand.

The food bank, which relies largely on cash and food donations, sees higher traffic around the holidays according to recently named TRUSU vice president of finance, Ryan Makar.

“We would encourage members to donate,” Makar said when asked how the student union is preparing for the increase.

“They can get in contact with the members services desk to set up a donation time. You can find the contact information on the website or you can stop by the office.”

More students look for help from the food bank during the holidays, TRUSU says. (Alexis Stockford/The Omega)

More students look for help from the food bank during the holidays, TRUSU says. (Alexis Stockford/The Omega)

According to the TRUSU website, the food bank is meant to support students during times when buying groceries is “one bill too many” and is open to all union members. Those wanting to access the service can pick up food packages at the TRUSU Member’s Services Desk near Common Grounds.

“We try and be as discreet as we can because it’s definitely not the students’ fault that they have to use the resource, and it is there for them to use and we would encourage them to use it,” Makar said.

This October the food bank provided food to 22 TRU students.

While he personally does not know anyone who has used the service, second-year psychology student Niloy Reza said he thinks having a food bank on campus, as opposed to relying on the community food bank, is beneficial to students.

“It’s closer to them, it’s more accessible and it will actually be useful for them,” Reza said.

Arts student Martina Duocep also said she thinks the program is beneficial, but added that it should be better advertised.

“I’m in my third year now and I only learned about it in my last semester last year,” she said.

The food bank has experienced shortages in the past. In January 2012, TRUSU executive director Nathan Lane reported that TRUSU had been “scrambling to purchase food,” The Omega reported.

The amount of food given to each student depends on what is in stock and how many donations the food bank has received.

Other emergency services

New this year, TRUSU introduced an emergency bursary for unexpected financial crisis. Each bursary is worth up to $700 (although Makar said case-by-case details are into account when determining funds) to be spent on necessities such as rent, clothes or food.

Students must first meet with a TRUSU member’s advocate, the office of student awards and financial support or the office of student and judiciary affairs before receiving funds.

“I totally could have used that last semester because my student loan didn’t come in on time and I wasn’t going to get it,” Duocep said of the new bursary.