A study from the non-profit organization Meal Exchange says 2 in 5 post-secondary students across the country don’t know where their next meal will come from.
It is called food insecurity and it is a growing trend in the province.
For those students in need, Fanshawe Students’ Union President, Carlie Forsythe says services exist on campus.
“The major one we have is the Sharing Shop. The Sharing Shop is an on campus food bank. Students can access the Sharing Shop up to five times per semester before they are sent over to counselling services for further assistance. You walk in there and can grab up to five items per visit.”
Beyond the Sharing Shop, major reforms are needed in financial aid to address the problem of food insecurity.
The Ontario Undergraduate Students Alliance (OUSA) says the issue isn’t necessarily food prices themselves, but the living allowance provided by OSAP, which forces students to live below the poverty line.
“Food security and just general financial welfare is a big issue in the province. We don’t think that it is necessarily the cost of food that is the major issue but rather when it comes to student financial aid and the funding for students. The living allowance that is provided for students, we don’t think it is adequate as students are living underneath the poverty line with the amount of money that they are given,” says Colin Aichison, Vice President of OUSA.
There are changes coming to the financial aid system, including the introduction of the Ontario Student Grant, which will shift the focus of funding from loans to grants.
Changes to living allowances however, are yet to come.