“It’s been a really good supply this year so far,” said Shona Sutherland, SAITSA’s community outreach co-ordinator.
Demand, meanwhile, continues to average about 10 hampers per month, peaking just below 20 per month.
“We find it’s really popular right after school starts and students have just paid their tuition and months coming up around Christmas, with all the added expenses,” said Sutherland.
Established in 2013, the SAITSA Food Bank supplies students on SAIT campus with household necessities when they are under financial pressure.
Non-perishable items and household supplies are packed into handout bags.
These resource kits usually last three to four days, enough to sustain students and help them land back on their feet.
“We’re here to help them initially with what we can, if they need support beyond what SAITSA is able to offer, then we connect them with the Calgary Food Bank,” said Sutherland.
SAITSA has a strong relationship with the Calgary Food Bank, assisting one another whenever possible.
“They support us with any influx that they have,” said Sutherland.
Redesigned food pick-up boxes have been dispersed across the campus, encouraging the SAIT community to support their less fortunate colleagues.
“We do get a lot of students who have used it in the past and then want to give back when they can, and students that just want to help other students,” said Sutherland.
Occurrences of supply shortage, such as sanitary products this year or protein foods the year prior, pose only brief complications thanks to such strong community donations.
“Usually when you put that call out there, it fills up pretty quickly. People pay attention to what is needed,” said Sutherland.
One of the primary contributors to the cause has been the SAIT instructional staff.
“They’ve really run with the program the past few years.
“Between the different departments, they make it a challenge to staff to get items that we’re low on,” said Sutherland.
At Halloween, an office decoration and costume contest was devised among the SAIT faculty, charging food bank donations as the competition admittance.
While SAITSA manages the food bank, volunteer students on campus provide labour and maintenance service for the program.
“They do have part-time staff who are also students, that help organize everything, put the bags together, and then put the items in storage and take them out of storage as needed.”
Students looking to receive aid from the SAITSA Food Bank can register at the Resource Centre in room MC107 of the Stan Grad Centre by filling out basic contact information with valid student identification.