Campus food bank usage up by 23 per cent; MHAs want action
Two NDP MHAs are speaking out about the increased number of students needing to use the Campus Food Bank at Memorial University. Housing Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Center) and Advanced Education and Skills Critic Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) say the 23 per cent increase in usage is a reflection, in part, of the current housing crisis in St. John’s.
“Housing for students is at a crisis point in the city. Students are having to pay higher costs for housing than ever before. We hear so much about low vacancy rates and rising rental costs,” said Rogers. “This is the reality – that our university students are forced to ask for basic groceries to get by from one month to the next.
“Students have never expected to live in luxury, but this is an alarming increase.”
Most of the people who use the volunteer-run Campus Food Bank are current students and their families. The first eight months of this year saw a 23 per cent increase in the number who came compared to the same period in 2011.
“This is a clear indicator, if another one was needed, that government cannot point at their tuition freeze and claim they are doing everything they can for students,” added Kirby. “People need places to live. People have to eat. We will never develop the workforce we need if we expect students to starve while they are getting an education.”