As London’s Food Bank faces a 26 per cent increase in usage — the largest annual increase ever seen in the service’s history — Western students’ own food drive program is facing an increase.
The Food Support Service, run by the University Students’ Council, was created with the intention of allowing students in need to anonymously pick up food. Each hamper of food is enough to provide for two meals and comes from donations made by students.
According to USC vice-president student events Justin Arcaro, this year has seen a marked rise in the service’s use.
“It’s not overwhelming, but [demand] has certainly increased,” Arcaro said. He explained the organization has not always kept records on usage, but in the few years he has been involved demand has increased.
Students, he said, are now more aware of what the service actually offers, with events like Trick or Eat providing even more exposure.
“Since [I first became involved in the program], I know there’s been quite a bit more use,” Arcaro explained. “This year we have also been getting a wider range of users.”
As it currently stands, the USC’s Food Support Service does not limit the number of times a student can use the program, though Arcaro explained in cases of extreme repeated need the service will try to provide greater accommodation.
“Sometimes we refer [repeated users] to the London Food Bank if their need goes beyond our capacity,” he said.
Arcaro also hinted at the future of the Food Support Service, though he stressed the program works in its current form.
“We may want to try to expand, maybe even to create a soup kitchen or something similar,” he speculated. “But we’re not there yet.”
Students in need of food can email firstname.lastname@example.org and receive a location for where they may pick up their food. All information is kept private and anonymous.
— Mike Hayes