Food bank use up at Red River College
More than double the number of Red River College students are using the food banks on campus compared to two years ago.
The food bank service at the college assisted 50 households in September 2011, but it has helped 126 households by this past September.
Officials say the increase is partly because there are now two food banks linked to the college, with the opening of a food bank at its Exchange District campus in 2012.
The expansion has helped identify the extra need, says Jocelle Cuvos, president of the Red River College Students' Association.
"To be honest, I didn't even realize that the need was so important," Cuvos said.
"I hope the numbers don't increase and that we help families provide enough food, but it is a crucial reality for a lot of our students."
Another factor has been the rising cost of food. According to Statistics Canada, the price of food in Manitoba increased by 2.5 per cent during the past year — the highest increase among the provinces.
Red River student Amber Solstice says she has used the food bank's services, but only as a last resort.
"I don't like to break down and ask for help, but I did," she said.
"I mean, it was a good thing, but at the same time [I] didn't really want to do it."
The University of Winnipeg Students' Association says its food bank has 60 to 70 registered users, plus an untracked number of walk-ins. There has been no notable change year over year, according to officials.
Officials with the University of Manitoba Students' Association said Wednesday that food bank use there has remained about the same.
By the numbers
Winnipeg Harvest: Number of households with students served
September 2010: 262
September 2011: 272
September 2012: 294
September 2013: 343
(Source: Winnipeg Harvest)
Red River College food banks: Number of households served
September 2011: 50 (Notre Dame campus food bank only).
September 2012: 102 (85 at Notre Dame campus, 17 at Exchange campus).
September 2013: 126 (59 at Notre Dame campus, 67 at Exchange campus).
(Source: Red River College Students' Association)