Thanks to Ryerson’s Good Food Centre (GFC), students are now able to receive free breakfast at the Student Campus Centre (SCC) every other Wednesday morning.
The program, which officially launched on Jan. 24, aims to serve students who arrive early on campus, but may not be able to afford breakfast or might not have time to make it at home.
Rajean Hoilett, events and outreach coordinator at the GFC, describes the response for the program as incredible.
“We rounded up a small group of volunteers to prepare meals [for] close to 200 students, which [was] well over our initial goal,” Hoilett said.
He said employees see a lot of people who come in for groceries but are often looking for ready-made meals. The GFC doesn’t open till 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so they realized there was a gap in services, he said.
The GFC plans to change the food that is served so students aren’t always eating the same thing. During the first two weeks, they served blueberry oatmeal and frittatas.
Volunteers determine what the menu will be for each week and take into consideration what leftover food is available so it doesn’t go to waste.
However, finding kitchen space at Ryerson was a problem at first. Last semester, the pastor of First Evangelical Lutheran Church reached out to the GFC to create a supportive partnership. This partnership allowed volunteers to use their kitchen and supplies to cook the food.
Al McDonough is a third-year social work student and volunteer at the GFC.
“I love cooking with people,” they said. “I think it’s important that students have the opportunity to be fed as much as possible on campus.”
McDonough said that the GFC is always looking for suggestions from students about what food to serve while also taking dietary needs into consideration.
“I think it’ll be interesting moving forward to see what kind of food we come up with”, McDonough said. “Last week, a lot of people said they didn’t like green peppers so we used red this time.”
The free breakfast program will continue at 10 a.m. on March 7, March 21 and April 4.
All photos by Miriam Valdes-Carletti