As we head into the month of March, Nutrition Month, food is top of mind for many of us. Maintaining a nutritional diet is important for everyone, particularly students because it helps your mind stay sharp so you can excel in your courses. For some, food, not only nutritional food, but food in general, can be hard to come by. This is particularly concerning for one’s ability to learn. Which is why the Students’ Association helps connect students with the food resources they need to make sure they’re getting what they need to be successful during their time at the college.
The ACCSA has always had a food bank program available, which is currently hosted through a partnership with the Samaritan House in Brandon. Domestic students can use their Manitoba Health Card to gain access to the food hamper program, while International Students can now use their valid Assiniboine student card.
Apryl Morris, the ACCSA Office Coordinator, has noticed a relatively recent increase in inquiries related to food security from our students. “Students began calling and requesting food hampers. I watched them struggling to pay bills and saw pale faces from lack of iron. Food insecurity is an issue for ACC students,” said Morris.
Let us know how you feel about your food security by taking our Student Food Security survey.
It became clear that more awareness about food security was needed, so Morris put together a contest for the month of March to help students understand the importance of a healthy diet and how they can achieve that on a budget. Students participating in the contest will have the chance to win grocery gift cards valued at $75 each, every week of the competition, and chances to win new kitchen ware in the grand prize draw on March 29. The contest is called Show Us Your $50, you can see more information about it and many other resources on our Food Security page, including resources to help students at satellite campuses get access to food hampers.
You’ll see on the Food Security page some information about the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This is to help demonstrate how important it is for the basic foundations of health to be met for our students. “Sleep, shelter, food, water, safety, must be met before attainment of the higher levels of being, such as education, self esteem, self actualization,” said Morris. “If we want students to meet their highest potential, we must help them to meet their basics needs in order to grow. When people do not have food in the cupboard or their refrigerator, it causes feelings of insecurity and effects how safe a person feels in their own home. Internal psychic angst has a direct effect on a person’s ability to process and understand learning and knowledge. A healthy student body is key to student academic success.”
When it comes to healthy eating, it isn’t an easy task to shop on a budget. “We must be vigilant in searching out healthy nutritious cost effective foods. Food feeds our brains. Lack of healthy fats affects our ability to process information,” said Morris. Students who participate in Show Us Your $50 will be tasked with having a budget of $50 to spend at Heritage Co-op Food Stores Brandon, using the Paw Pass Student Discount, along with other discounts, coupons, or related resources to buy a weeks worth of food. To gain more entries, students are asked to create a recipe with the food they purchased and share it. Through this exercise students will become more budget conscious, along with learning to find healthy food at a good price.
ACC International also has food on their mind. This month they’ll be sharing a post on their Facebook page offering an opportunity for students to submit their recipes. There will probably be a prize involved. You can watch for the post on their Facebook page @AssiniboineInternational.