Feeding Knowledge on Giving Tuesday

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: November 29, 2022 8:00 a.m.

Volunteers lend a hand at the URSU Cares Food Pantry.
Volunteers lend a hand at the URSU Cares Food Pantry. URSU

As the calendar brings us closer to the beginning of the holiday season, some students may be thinking less about celebrating the holidays, and more about being able to afford to properly feed themselves over the break between semesters.

The University of Regina Student Union (URSU)’s Pantry serves the University community with pantry events held every two weeks with the aim of alleviating the pressures of food insecurity on students. It’s an issue many on campus struggle with. Rising costs of food, housing, school, and other necessities all contribute to stretched budgets, and the stress of juggling it all can weigh on students as they work towards completing their degrees. “The combined pressure contributes to physical and mental deterioration,” says Cassidy Daskalchuk, URSU’s Food Security Coordinator.

The URSU Cares Pantry was established in 2016, originally working with donations from the Regina Food Bank. At that time, primarily dry and packaged goods were offered. Since then, with increased investment from the community and URSU alike, the Pantry has grown considerably and offers a wider variety of foods including much needed fruits and vegetables. “At the beginning (we) were serving probably fewer than 50, and now we serve up to 160 people every two weeks,” Daskalchuk says. “It’s very well used in terms of our capacity — but it would be used even more if we had a bigger capacity.”

This year, the University of Regina has focussed its fall fundraising appeal to address the issue of food insecurity among students. The Feeding Knowledge appeal raises funds to support students-in-need to afford healthy nutritious food while engaged in their studies at the U of R. This Giving Tuesday, the initiative has extended to supporting the URSU Cares Pantry, with faculty, staff, and students encouraged to make donations of non-perishable food items, or monetary donations through Feeding Knowledge.

“People think the window of food insecurity is a lot smaller than it really is,” Daskalchuk says. “Food insecurity can look like not being able to afford to eat, or giving up meals to other people — like family and children —so you’re not eating enough, yourself. Or it could be something as simple as you just can’t afford the food you actually want to be eating, food that fulfils you.”

URSU anticipates that this holiday season will see a large number of students at its events on December 14 and 15 before it closes over the break. While the Feeding Knowledge appeal provides much-needed funds to students-in-need, it also raises the awareness of food insecurity on campus – and in our wider communities. “It’s nice to have that visibility to University staff,” Daskalchuk says. “And it’s information that can be shared with students – there are lots of students who are here and have need, but just aren’t aware of the services. Everybody needs food.”

You can help students-in-need at the U of R! Consider a donation to Feeding Knowledge, or drop-off non-perishable food items in your faculty or department.

You can learn more about the URSU Cares Food Pantry here.