With over 100 hours of work, 70 student-actors, and over 50 volunteers, Western’s University Student Council’s Charity haunted house event, Haunted Not Hungry, has raised over $900 in support of Western’s Food Support Services.
“Food insecurity is something that is so prevalent, especially among the student population. When you have to think about all the bills, and all the other
things students have to pay for, food is another thing and it’s something that is often forgotten,” said Kieran Mangoit, the USC Charity coordinator.
Currently, Food Support Services helps over 150 students by providing them with access to their food bank and preparing food hampers.
“No student should ever have to go to school hungry,” said Selina Phan, Western’s Food Support Services coordinator. “That should never be a barrier. Food is a basic fundamental right and if someone doesn’t have access to it, then that’s where we come in,” she added.
Many students struggling with food insecurity may be hesitant to use this service, but Phan assures that everything is kept confidential.
“Even though food is a basic necessity, we recognize there’s a stigma around needing this kind of support. The food hamper service allows for anonymity because we’ll leave the food hamper in one of the lockers on campus, so students don’t have to directly come to Food Support Services,” she said.
Phan says events such as Haunted Not Hungry, where admission requires either a monetary or food donation, are critical for their service. “All donations from this event go directly towards Food Support Services. These events also create an awareness that is really needed for the issue of food insecurity,” she said.
Kieran Mangoit, USC Charity coordinator, says despite students having midterms, the event has had a great turnout.
“It’s exciting to see that students have a charitable heart and are caring and thinking about others even when their lives are so busy with school,” he said.
Caleb Ajao is a third-year Western student who attended the event and feels that students should not be hesitant to take advantage of food support services.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody gets hungry and everybody deserves to eat,” he added.
Food Support Services is located in the University Community Centre and is open to any undergraduate student from Monday-Friday, between 10 a.m.-2 p.m.