By Leah Ching, Staff Writer
For most students, Halloween is a night to get dressed up all spooky or sexy and hit up some parties. For many members of Lakehead’s student community, Halloween also means participating in one of the LUSU Food Bank’s biggest campaigns, the annual “Trick or Eat” event. Students go door-to-door in teams and collect non-perishable food items that stock the food bank’s shelves for fellow students in need. Megan Clark, who is coordinating the event this year, spoke with the Argus about the big night, with 2014 having eighteen teams in attendance and over 6000 items collected to stock the food bank’s shelves. With eighteen teams already signed up this year, Megan said she looked forward to breaking last year’s record for number of volunteers, as well as amounts of food collected. She also said, “One of the things I like about Trick or Eat, is that it’s students helping fellow students”
Megan noted that during the year, the Food Bank has other important events that they rely on to fill their shelves. “We definitely rely on the faculty food drive and ongoing donations by students, faculty, and community members.” She also recognized that “Over 700 students last year accessed the food bank. There is a large demand, but drives like this make it possible.”
This year, the Food Bank has a new coordinator, Robert Strachan, who had to jump into the role mid semester as the position was vacant the first few weeks of the year. Robert spoke with the Argus about taking up the role and the challenges that came along with jumping in right during Trick or Eat season, “It wasn’t difficult necessarily, it was a lot to do but that’s where the volunteers, and Megan, and the other LUSU employees come together and they really helped me.”
When Robert mentioned that most students rely on OSAP, Megan commented that the Food Bank does see a peak in students during the beginning of the semester when they’ve paid fees, but are waiting for their OSAP checks to come in. She also added to that by saying, “When you describe the face of hunger, the student demographic isn’t the one that quickly comes to mind. And yet, post-secondary students are one of the fastest growing groups of food bank users. Almost every campus across Canada now has a food bank, and I think that speaks a lot to rising tuition costs, and the costs of living.”
The People’s Potato, a widespread success in years past is a weekly free lunch with food cooked by the Outpost that has been traditionally served on Thursdays in the tunnels, with last year having served 1300 servings throughout the year. The lunch event is having a huge kick off on the 29th, from the 11:00AM to 1:00PM.
Robert encouraged students to volunteer with the food bank, “its volunteers that keep our doors open,” he said. “There’s a huge need for volunteers once the goods come in from Trick or Eat, for things to be counted, sorted, properly received, and then stocked on shelves. We’re looking for a pretty big task force for that.” Students can reach Megan and Robert by emailing foodbank@LUSU.ca