Students returned to classes this fall to resume their education, but on top of rising tuition costs – a 25 per cent increase since 2019 – students are facing higher food prices.
“Students at the University of Calgary have been facing increasing costs of tuition, fees, and also books over the last three years,” says Nicole Schmidt, president of the university’s students’ union.
CTV News reports that Alberta has seen a 9.2 per cent increase in food prices. On a national level, food costs have risen 11.4 per cent since last year.
To mark food security awareness month, the U of C’s annual fall food drive, Food for Thought, began this October.
The university’s starting event, Stack the Mac, kicked off their fall food drive by encouraging people to donate boxes of macaroni and other food items to build a tower that exceeded the height of their mascot, Rex the dinosaur.
“We had that event last week and it was quite successful,” Schmidt said.
Many students on campus are unaware of the fall food drive or of the work and events that are done through the food bank, according to Schmidt.
“Promotion and outreach has been a little bit more of a challenge this year for us than in past years.”
The Students’ Union also operates a food bank on campus where volunteers seek donations to help support the program – cash donations are accepted to help purchase perishable food items.
Located in the MacEwan Centre on campus, the food bank provides help for students in need. They do this by providing students with emergency food hampers which are filled with nutritional foods and last roughly a week.
“This often includes foods to accommodate dietary restrictions or culturally appropriate foods like halal meals,” Schmidt said.
Last year the school distributed 227 hampers from September to April.
Students can reach out to the food bank online to find out more about their programs and initiatives, or visit them in person to access the services offered.