This #GivingTuesday, MSVU is joining 10 Atlantic Canadian universities and colleges to raise funds and awareness for student food insecurity. The collaboration was inspired by the J & W Murphy Foundation who will generously match donations to MSVU up to $4,000.
Giving Tuesday is celebrated every year on the first Tuesday after Black Friday as a day that encourages generosity through philanthropy. Funds raised in support of MSVU students this year will go to the on-campus food bank and soup kitchen (called Captain Crow’s Café) run by the Students’ Union, as well as other food security initiatives on campus.
“With the cost of food increasing at a significant rate, food insecurity is yet another barrier for some of our students,” said Dr. Joël Dickinson, President and Vice-Chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University. “All students need access to nutritious food and we’re sincerely grateful to the J & W Murphy Foundation for helping make that possible through their generous gift.”
Food insecurity, defined as inadequate or insecure access to food, has become a growing concern for students across the country. Due to the rising cost of living, food and grocery prices have increased upwards of 15% in the last 2 years.
According to a 2021 National Student Food Insecurity Report by Meal Exchange, 56.8% of surveyed post-secondary students in Canada had experienced some form of food insecurity. In addition, 60.4% reported that the cost of food prevented them from eating balanced or nutritious meals, while 55% said they had to rely on a few low-cost foods to avoid running out of money to buy more food.
Cheyenne Hardy, a fourth-year Child and Youth Study student at MSVU and volunteer coordinator for the Food Bank and Captain Crow’s Café, says the need for food services has doubled within the past year. “Last year at this time we were serving about 40 students per week but because of the donations and the matched funds from the J & W Murphy Foundation, we are now able to provide food for about 100 students every week,” said Cheyenne.
The MSVU food support services are open to anyone in the university community. According to Cheyenne, anyone who visits the Food Bank, which operates as a free grocery store experience, is welcomed with open arms. “They can pick out what they want whether it’s for themselves, their households, or their families – whoever needs it,” she said.
With the J & W Murphy Foundation matching all donations from individuals up to $4,000, this year’s donations will make double the impact. A statement made by the J & W Murphy Foundation emphasized the importance of addressing food insecurity. “When we first set out to address student food security on Giving Tuesday 2020, we couldn’t have known the extent to which the situation would persist. Collectively, we’ve made a real difference, but the need is still growing.”
Cheyenne highlighted how donations will support many valuable food programs in addition to the future success of students. “With your support, we are able to offer increased food distribution through our on-campus Food Bank, hot meals from our Soup Kitchen, as well as a pop-up Food Table in Rosaria,” she said. “A donation to our Food Bank and the Captain Crow’s Café means you are supporting dreams, goals, and aspirations, and you’re supporting our future leaders.”
To learn more or to make a donation, please visit alumni.msvu.ca/givingtuesday. Learn more about the services your donation will support in the below video: