Did you know the University of Toronto has a food and clothing bank for students? It’s true and it is open to any student provided they register and present a valid TCard and a current timetable.
Being in school fulltime while supporting a family on OSAP and a single income can make for a tight budget. I’m not completely broke. But still, I am considering using the food bank. Is this wrong? Am I a horrible person? On the food bank website they claim it is for all students. So why do I feel guilty about lining up for free groceries and possibly a free pair of boots for my son? Am I ashamed that I could benefit from the charity of others? That it would lighten the financial burden? I have envisioned myself in a fedora lining up for food, so no one would recognize me…seriously. I have had minor panic attacks thinking about going to the food bank. So my question is: When there is so much aid available for students on campus, why then is it so difficult to ask for help? Should I be embarrassed that I need help?
I know the answer is no. I am, like most students incurring a ridiculous amount of debt in order to obtain a degree. The money I spend on tuition and books etc. cuts into my bottom line every month. A reality that many of us may overlook is that food is actually more important than textbooks. If you averaged it out over the school year, most students probably spend more on textbooks in one month than they do on good healthy food.
The food bank is a resource, kind of like the counselling and health services on campus. If you can’t afford healthy food and have been living off of Mr. Noodles and those ravioli in a can, maybe you should consider using the food bank. If by some luck you are a student with extra food, then you might consider donating to the food bank to help your fellow schoolmates through their rough patches.
Located in the Multi-Faith Centre and operated since 2001 by UTSU, the food bank serves more than 60 students per week. They function with a combination of paid staff and volunteers. As they rotate their volunteers three times a year, they are always looking for new faces and hands to donate their time.
The food and clothing bank will soon be starting their annual holiday toy drive. This is a great way to make someone’s holiday a little better. All the toys go to the children of students, who are having difficulty making ends meet over the holidays. Pass it along and remember as the holidays approach to keep an eye out for the toy donation boxes around campus.
You can check out the food and clothing bank website for hours of operation and other information.