November 17, 2018

Spoke OnlineBy JESSICA MARTIN

It’s not just people in far-away countries who go hungry. Students at Conestoga College do too.
Conestoga Students Inc. has a food bank to help the cause and keep stomachs full.

The food bank is located in Room 2A119 and is open Monday through Friday. However, it is only open for a couple of hours each day, so it is best to check with CSI prior to going. Students who need food can go there twice a month. They will need to show their student ID and complete a hunger count form before they collect their food hamper. The form helps keep track of the number of students using the food bank.

A single person can get up to 10 items per visit and a person with children or a spouse can receive 15 items.

Taryn Schmidt, CSI director of community outreach, said the food bank serves a large population and is always ready to accept donations.

“Word is getting out so there’s a lot more students that are coming in now which is good,” she said. “We always need food donations. We constantly have to order food through the Waterloo Region Food Bank. Each order is about 300 to 400 pounds of food.”

Schmidt said people who haven’t donated should consider who is collecting the food.

“It’s your friends at the college who utilize this service and it’s important to take care of our little community on campus,” she said. “That means making sure students have enough to eat.”
Melissa Loewen, a second-year broadcast television student, is proud of the service.

“It’s great that we offer a food bank. It’s not hard to give a little bit. People are hungry and giving food is a necessity,” she said.

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region obtains and distributes approximately three million pounds of emergency food to people in the community each year.

Ruth Friendship-Keller, manager of community partnerships at the food bank, said most people don’t realize that individuals and families within our own community are in need of food.
“There are about 26,500 people who needed food and assistance last year and almost half of them were kids,” she said. “We expect that number to be about the same this year.”
Friendship-Keller said it doesn’t take much effort to donate.

“People can do simple things like when grocery shopping buy a little extra peanut butter or canned food and put it in the bins that are at grocery stores,” she said.
Students wanting to make direct donations to the school can drop off donations in the CSI self-serve area.

The top 10 items they are looking for are canned meat and fish, peanut butter, beans in sauce, rice, cold cereal, canned fruit, macaroni and cheese, canned stew and chili, canned vegetables, and fruit and vegetable juice.

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