Many post-secondary students don’t often have a lot of money or access to enough food at the best of times, but due to governmental COVID-19 shutdown measures, some Sault College students, it was reported at the school’s board of governors meeting Thursday, have suffered moreso, and are in need of donations of food and money.
In collaboration with college officials, the Sault College Students Union (SCSU) has been able to open the college’s food bank to address students' needs.
A food bank for Sault College students has been in place for a few years, run from the SCSU office.
Ahmad Alkosani, SCSU president, speaking to the board, said an average of 20 students visited the food bank once a week prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic shut the food bank down in March.
“(But) we realized our students were in need financially and non-financially (in need of food), so we collaborated with the college and we reopened the food bank every Wednesday and Friday beginning April 20th, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Alkosani said.
“We saw how much our students were in need.”
From April 20 to June 25, more than 600 students used the Sault College food bank, amounting to 1,216 visits to the much-needed resource centre.
Most donations of food have come from Harvest Algoma-United Way Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District.
A financial emergency fund is also in place for students affected by the COVID shutdown.
Alkosani said the food bank is still accepting donations of food, while financial donations may be made by contacting SCSU through its website or by mailing a cheque to the Sault College Student Administrative Council.
Alkosani said, as of June 25, $12,361 has been collected ($6,346 for the food bank, $6,015 for the emergency relief fund).
“We’re proud of the college staff for going out of their way to help us,” Alkosani said, expressing his thanks to Harvest Algoma-United Way Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District.
Meanwhile, in other news from Thursday’s Sault College board meeting;
- The board approved a one year, two-semester Gerontology and Chronic Illness graduate certificate program, to provide internationally trained nurses with theoretical knowledge and clinical practice needed to join the College of Nurses in Ontario and to practice in Canada
- Sault College earned top spot in overall student satisfaction according to 2019-2020 KPI results
- Ron Common, Sault College president, in his 2019-2020 report, expressed his pleasure with the college receiving the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce 2019 Employer of the Year Award, enthused over new simulator equipment for the college’s aviation program, praised good performances by Sault College men’s and women’s hockey teams and said the multi-step transition for Sault College to acquire standalone nursing degree-granting status will continue
- As reported earlier, some Sault College students and staff, returning to the school July 6 in order for some students to finish off their programs and graduate by September, will be subject to heavy COVID-19 restrictions and subject to contact tracing