TRURO, N.S. – Ever-rising grocery prices meant Arielle Seruntine was forced to join scores of other students relying on the Nova Scotia Community College’s food bank.
Today, she is student co-ordinator for the campus food bank which is preparing for its second annual competition next month. Those who donate have the chance of a free pizza party.
“It can be disheartening,” said Seruntine. “I think the Nova Scotia Community College has done a lot to make people feel that we are in this together – they try to have a very communal atmosphere and listen to students.”
The on-campus competition runs Jan. 7-28. Each program – such as office administration and the business courses – raises a team of donors.
Every item of donation is worth a certain number of points and the highest-scoring team wins a trophy and a pizza party at the end. Notices and updates about the competition will be posted on television monitors set up around the NSCC campus.
“This is a service the Student Association provides, run by students for students. Part of our funds come from a mandatory payment in their tuition. I would like students, future students to understand that they contribute to the services they receive, so they have every right to use them without guilt,” said Seruntine.
She added an on-campus food bank is necessary as many NSCC students cannot access public assistance programs due to regular class commitments.
However, Seruntine is still reaching out to the local community for support. She has already received an offer of support from the Community Credit Union, including both donations and posters to promote the food bank.
Seruntine said such assistance is important as winter is often a tough time for students. By the second semester in January, many are running short of money and often cannot afford to buy essential groceries.
“We’re definitely running out faster on the shelves than we have in the past,” said Seruntine.
She did not have an exact figure of those students using the food bank, but she said numbers rise as grocery store prices soar.
Those people using the campus food bank will sign a form and are allowed to take enough food for their needs, from a facility designed to look like a store.
Only students who live off-campus are eligible, as those living in halls have their own meal plans.
“No one’s very happy that they cannot make it on their own,” said Seruntine.