With tuition and housing costs rising year over year, food security issues continue to escalate as students try to live and study on shoe-string budgets.
For the thousands of post-secondary students trolling through the hallways at the University of Saskatchewan, the Student’s Union has programs meant to make healthy eating an easier option.
The University of Saskatchewan Student’s Union (USSU) president Jack Saddleback said community partnerships with CHEP Good Food Inc. and the Saskatoon Food Bank help students deal with food security issues.
“We offer a fresh-food market which is in partnership with CHEP and that runs every Wednesday and Friday for fresh food at a really good price and CHEP also delivers a Good Food Box to campus,” Saddleback said. “We also have our emergency food hampers for students who are in need of a hamper – in correlation with the Saskatoon Food Bank.”
In the last school year from September 2014 to April 2015, Saddleback said the USSU Food Centre and the Saskatoon Food Bank filled 53 emergency hampers for students and with tuition and the cost of living not getting any cheaper, Saddleback expects these numbers to grow.
“Students these days are definitely having to rely on our food centre whether or not it’s an emergency, because the cost of living is going up and tuition costs are increasing and having to go through student loans and meager amount of funds available; you’re going to have to look at budgeting in different ways,” he said.
“Fifty-three emergency food hampers doesn’t seem that high but when you look at the spikes in various months – October was 11 hampers our highest month and March was 10, eight in February and nine in January so it’s interesting to note when people need these when money gets funneled into the holiday season or when tuition payments are due.”