A new initiative at Holland College is hoping to alleviate some of the stresses students are facing as grocery prices continue to rise.
Food for Thought, a daily breakfast program at the school, offers students free breakfast and snacks.
Manager of counselling services and student success Murray MacInnis said the program was developed in response to rising demand for food banks on campus.
“A number of people have become aware of food insecurity concerns and we started just having some good discussions and brainstorming some ideas,” he said.
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“The idea came out that breakfast is a pretty important time as far as starting students’ days off with some energy to focus in their classroom and other placements.”
In partnership with the Student Union, the school now provides an assortment of self-serve breakfast options, like toast and granola bars. So far, around 40 to 50 students have accessed the breakfast every morning. MacInnis expects that number to grow.
“It just works well, there’s a lot of students that just don’t have time … if they can just grab a quick snack before they head off to class,” he said.
Morgan Smith is in the LPN program at the college. She said she lives by a tight budget, which often leads her to purchase less healthy, more affordable options.
“I find I eat a lot more unhealthy stuff compared to healthy stuff,” she said. “Whereas you’d like to have more of a balanced diet, but you buy the stuff that’s easier to buy.”
MacInnis said the free breakfasts are just one piece of the puzzle in addressing affordability struggles students face.
“The cost of rent and food and everything has gone up so much that it’s really stretching students and every other citizen quite thin,” he said.
“They’re making decisions and sacrifices to further themselves in their education, and we certainly recognize that and want to be part of supporting them in it.”
The Food for Thought program currently runs at the Prince of Wales, Tourism and Culinary Centre and Georgetown campuses. It is expected to expand to other campuses in the coming months.