A new partnership is helping to combat food insecurity among Brock students.
Brock University has partnered with the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU), the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) and Aramark Canada to provide food and resources to students who are unable to acquire a sufficient amount of nutritious food to meet their needs.
Food First provides students in need with a local grocery store gift card, as well as connections to community resources and other programming related to food insecurity.
Having originated as an initiative run by BUSU and the GSA, the expansion of the program to formally partner with the University and its food provider has also seen the launch of a new centralized website featuring resources and applications to assist students.
Anna Lathrop, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Students, said the partnership has allowed for additional awareness of the issue within the Brock community.
“We know there are a number of students who are dealing with food insecurity, and in response, we are working with our campus and community partners to provide a co-ordinated effort to assist students who are in need,” she said. “The Food First program also provides resources for advocacy and opportunities for members of the community to donate and contribute to the health and well-being of Brock students.”
The new website will allow students to quickly and easily fill out requests for food assistance, which are reviewed every Thursday afternoon.
BUSU President Asad Jalib said the enhanced support is particularly important as some students are facing additional financial strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Making effective and impactful change in the food security space on campus is a major priority for the Brock University Students’ Union this year,” said Jalib. “It’s fantastic that we have all been able to come together to further expand this program as we continue to do everything we can to support our students.”
With nearly two in five post-secondary students in Canada experiencing some form of food insecurity, GSA President Chris Yendt emphasized the relevance of the expanded program and its resources for graduate students as well.
“The GSA is excited for the next phase of this program expansion to begin. After more than a year of planning and development, graduate students will benefit from a host of new and core offerings,” he said. “The GSA has been happy to partner with BUSU over the past few years to ensure access for graduate students in the Food First program, and we are delighted that the next phase of this program will continue to keep our students as a priority population.”
In addition to helpful and educational resources, the new website includes information on volunteer opportunities and links that will allow community members to donate in support of students.
Director of Dining Services Malcolm Dales said Aramark Canada was also proud to contribute to the program in several ways.
“As part of our agreement with our new food service partner, Aramark Canada, we are grateful and look forward to their future programming and educational events around this topic in addition to their annual financial support towards the Food First initiative at Brock,” said Dales.
To learn more about the program, visit the Food First website.