Campus Cupboard grows out of food bank

There’s a new twist on an old concept at the NSCC - Waterfront campus. What was once perceived as a resource for the underprivileged has a new name and improved supplies.

The Campus Cupboard is an emergency resource for students in need. “We’re now calling it a cupboard because we’re going beyond food,” says Chelsea Munro, clerical assistant of NSCC Waterfront Student Association. It now includes fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and more. “There are non-perishables like pasta, canned goods, juice, and now there are perishables. We have a new fridge and new shelving units in the cupboard.”

In addition to fresh food, availability of personal hygiene and household items is an important new service. “With hygiene items, people are able to clean themselves and their clothes,” says Alex Hanscomb, Campus Cupboard coordinator. “That helps build self-confidence.”

The stigma of using social services seems to be declining. However, the term food bank still seems sensitive. “That’s why we changed it to Campus Cupboard. Food bank has that unfortunate stigma. This is a cupboard. It’s yours when you need it.”

This year, the SA is focusing on a service model instead of giveaways and events. They welcome students in need to stop by the SA on the fifth floor for more information.

Munro has noticed an increase in use of the cupboard this year. “Last year, I could go two weeks and have four or five students using it, and it would be the same students. This year, I’ve had up to 15 different students a week.”

Awareness is up, but more is needed. “I knew there was a food bank, but didn’t know what it was called or where it was,” says business administration student Linnea Dean.

“I’m always looking for volunteers,” explains Hanscomb, noting once the second semester hits, students may be on a budget. “We’ll probably have the same issues when next tuition payment is due.”

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