Ryerson food bank launches inaugural report on student hunger

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2015  /CNW/ - Hundreds of Ryerson students suffered from food insecurity during the 2013/2014 academic year, forcing students to turn to the campus food centre for aid.

"We have always known that student food insecurity has been an issue at Ryerson," said Pascale Diverlus, Vice-President Equity for the Ryerson Students' Union. "However, with the release of The Hunger Report we now have an in-depth understanding of who uses the Good Food Centre, where their food insecurity stems from, and how we can work towards remedying these issues."

Compiled with information from the Good Food Centre's member intake forms, the report sheds light on demographics such as gender, age, parental status, and faculty percentage of the food centre's members. The report also takes a critical look at the root causes of hunger for Ryerson students. The high cost of tuition, an inadequate student loan system, and an overly competitive summer job market have all contributed to increasing food insecurity at Ryerson.

With over 2,500 visits from students seeking emergency food relief in 2013/2014, student hunger is a larger problem at Ryerson than many might suspect. Although virtually every post-secondary institution in Ontario has a campus food bank, student hunger remains an under-studied and hidden issue.

"By releasing this campus hunger report, The Ryerson Students' Union and Good Food Centre are taking the lead in raising awareness about the hidden problems on Canadian campuses and talking about long-term solutions to student poverty," said Michael Waglay, National Program Coordinator at Meal Exchange. "As far as Meal Exchange is aware, this is the first time something like this has been done, and it couldn't have come at a better time, since students are among the fastest growing group of food bank users."

The Good Food Centre, one of six equity services of the Ryerson Students' Union, is one of the oldest post-secondary food relief programs in Canada, offering students weekly access to food that is as wholesome and fresh as possible. The Ryerson Students' Union represents over 30,000 full-time undergraduate students and all graduate students at Ryerson University.

The full Hunger Report can be found online at www.rsuonline.ca

SOURCE Ryerson Students' Union

For further information: Pascale Diverlus, Vice-President Equity: 647-210-4393 or vp.equity@rsuonline.ca; Rajean Hoilett, President: 289-923-3534 or president@rsuonline.ca

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