Fresh produce is available for students experiencing food insecurity due to the pandemic
For the second time since the pandemic started, Ryerson has announced a food insecurity program designed to help students who are experiencing food insecurity due to COVID-19.
Ryerson food services has partnered with FoodShare Toronto, an organization that aims to achieve food justice for those affected most by poverty and food insecurity. The partnership was created with the goal of delivering boxes of produce to students who live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for the winter 2021 semester.
The program, which started on Feb. 15, allows Ryerson students to receive free produce boxes full of fruits and vegetables on a biweekly schedule, including apples, potatoes and carrots among other fresh produce.
To be eligible for this service, students filled out an expression of interest form that was accepting applications until Feb. 11. Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi said students can self qualify as having an unmet need.
“Any students who are experiencing a loss of income as a result from COVID-19 [can apply],” he said “The food relief program is open to students living in the GTA with unmet financial need, [as it] means different things to each individual student.”
The future of this program is unknown for now but Lachemi said the university is keeping track of the program’s success and will continue as they see fit.
“Given the COVID-19 situation in Toronto, it’s too early for us to determine whether or not this program will continue into next academic year,” he said. “For the 2021 semester, we will evaluate the future of this program in the coming months.”
Last year, the university invested $27,000 to provide over 600 free produce boxes to students who were experiencing food insecurity at the beginning of the pandemic.
For those that missed the Feb. 11 deadline, the Ryerson Students’ Union has launched a campaign that offers food box distribution and $25 grocery credit in order to help students who are facing food insecurity.
The Ryerson winter food relief program will run until the end of winter semester and will be reevaluated for future necessity.