Bare shelves at University of Windsor food bank causing empty bellies

The Iona College food bank's shelves are almost empty and students hoping to find food in the past week have been sent away with a single can of soup.

Chickpeas, vegetarian pasta sauce, peanut butter and canned tomatoes are in especially short supply

The University of Windsor Food Bank's shelves are almost empty. (Angela Zhu/Facebook)

The shelves at the Iona College food bank at the University of Windsor are almost empty and students hoping to find food in the past week have been sent away with a single can of soup.

"There are a lot of beans, but not a lot of options, especially for vegetarian students," explained Angela Zhu, who works with the food bank. "We had a lot of donations come in over the holidays, but I think people have just stopped thinking about it."

The food bank is run by volunteers from Iona College and members of the law student's society. It's located at Canterbury College on University Avenue.

Chickpeas, vegetarian pasta sauce, peanut butter and canned tomatoes are in especially short supply, she added. About half of the students who use the program are vegetarian.

Zhu said she is worried the food bank won't last until the end of the school year, and that it's frustrating knowing students have to decide between paying for tuition, housing or food. 

"Just last week I had to send away six students with just a roll of crackers and a can of soup," she said. "Crackers are not enough to feed someone."

The program is anonymous and strictly for students who have to show their student number when they use the food bank, said Zhu. Students are able to access the bank once every two weeks "to keep things fair," she said. 

Zhu said in a two-hour volunteer shift she sees about 15 to 20 students. 

"It's really good to see them leave with a bag of food, but I know that may be most of what they eat that week," she said. 

A donation box has been set up in the basement of the university's law school.