In an unprecedented move, nine Nova Scotia universities including Mount Saint Vincent University are combining their efforts to improve food security for students on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1. The J & W Murphy Foundation inspired this collaboration, providing a minimum donation of $3,500 to each university with the potential for additional matching funds if the campaigns exceed this threshold.

“On behalf of MSVU, I extend my sincere thanks to the J & W Murphy Foundation for their generous support of our students,” says Dr. Mary Bluechardt, President and Vice-Chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University. “The pandemic has had a significant impact on our students, and right now, they need us more than ever. At MSVU, this support will be administered through the President’s Student Relief Fund which has been established to address the urgent needs of students affected by COVID-19, including issues of food insecurity.”

“Through this leading commitment by J & W Murphy Foundation, donors to MSVU will be able to double their impact – it’s a powerful opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of students,” notes Dr. Bluechardt.

Food insecurity is the uncertainty that an individual is and will be able to eat well. It means they struggle to afford, access and store healthy food, or to have the time and skills to shop for and prepare nutritious meals. According to Statistics Canada, food insecurity affects between 10 and 14% of Canadians and is more prevalent in families with children. Other studies show that these rates approximately triple amongst post-secondary students, suggesting that two out of five (39%) of Canadian university students have experienced some degree of food insecurity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation.

“As COVID-19 shut down our schools and universities, libraries and restaurants, drop-in centres and meal support services, we knew we had to step up to help prevent vulnerable Nova Scotians from falling through the cracks,” says Lisa Murphy, on behalf of the family foundation she and her sister, Karen Spaulding, co-direct. “That includes students, many of whom have lost jobs and access to on-campus food services,” says Murphy.

This year, MSVU, Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University, St. Francis Xavier University, Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Atlantic School of Theology, NSCAD University and the University of King’s College will all join in this effort to raise funds to improve food security for their students.

To learn more or to make a donation, please visit our Giving Tuesday details on our website.