Foodbank use down

Manager attributes decrease in visits to a lack of proper education about student resource

Visits to the AMS Foodbank have decrease dramatically this year, and AMS Foodbank Manager Tara Tran, ArtSci’07, is trying to figure out why.

In 2003, Tran said, there was up to 70 clients per week going to the Foodbank and a total of 1,500 visits. This year, there have been only 50 visits since May.

Tran said she doesn’t think the decreased use is due to lack of need.

“If our numbers are dropping this significantly … I can’t imagine it would be because we suddenly don’t need a food bank anymore, especially having tuition having increased this year,’ Tran said, adding that she thinks part of the reason may be the move the Foodbank recently made.

“From 1997 on we were at the House [at 272 Earl St.] and then last year we moved to Macgillivray-Brown Hall,” she said. “We’re on the edge of campus, which is good in the sense that it is a private location but bad in the sense that if [users are] not aware of it, they’re not going to realize they could go there.”

Tran said students who use the Foodbank don’t have to be completely out of cash, but that it’s open to anyone who is having financial trouble.

“I get that question a lot--who qualifies for the Foodbank,” she said. “This year, especially, I’ve sort of worked on promoting the idea that we’re a service for nutrition as well. “

Tran said she gets a lot of different reactions from students to the Foodbank’s presence on campus.

“They’re really good about it, really supportive, never really questioning why we have it,” Tran said. “But students are also really surprised that a Foodbank is needed at all, especially when I emphasize that we operate for students. Usually people think we’re for the Kingston community and when they realize it’s for students, it just bothers them.”

Tran said she thinks Queen’s reputation might be detrimental to Foodbank use.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that even if our need for it was equal to other campuses, maybe based on that reputation of being a high-income school, students who did need it wouldn’t use it because they thought they shouldn’t be using it. I can’t say for sure.”

Tran said the stigma surrounding Foodbank usage needs to be overcome.

“Everyone recognizes that students get a little tight on money.”

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