AMS Food Bank & Sexual Assault Centre Kingston seek SGPS fee nomination

Both organizations continue to look towards supporting students

Sexual Assault Centre Kingston and AMS Food Bank fees up for SGPS referendum.

Student election season is slowly heating up, entering the latter half of January. Like any year, this year has fee referendums in store at the AMS and SGPS level. 

For SGPS students, a few key high-level fees or organizations are attempting to secure a spot on the ballot once the nomination period closes.  

AMS Food Bank

Increased prices of groceries are making it more difficult for the AMS Food Bank to provide patrons with the same level and quality of reliable food products. The Food Bank is looking to increase its SGPS fee to $4.00. 

With the financial burden the COVID-19 pandemic placed on students, our number of patrons is increasing. This is leading to shortages in the Food Bank as well as more patrons requesting special items,” Sierra Gaspari, Food Bank head manager, said in a statement to The Journal

“The fee increase will support the purchasing of healthy and reliable food for the AMS Food Bank to remain dependable for students.”

Special requests are on the rise at the Food Bank for items such as diapers, baby food, and specific religious and health-based dietary food products. 

By adding two assistant managers, Gaspari said the service could accomplish more than before while increasing the job opportunities for students. 

Food Bank staff have noticed SGPS students utilize the program, which allows patrons to request five items not kept in regular stock. 

“Parents have expressed how difficult it is to provide for their family and be a student which is why this year, we are noticing an increase in requests for diapers and baby food/products.” 

Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SACK) 

Counselling services, advocacy, and survivor-centric resources are at the heart of SACK’s mission. The Centre provides the Kingston community and students with a crisis and chat and text line designed to support individuals in need.

“A majority of staff SACK volunteers are Queen’s students. We have quite a few SGPS members. They go through pretty intense training; we have backup volunteers as well,” SACK Director of Program Development Kim Graham said in an interview with The Journal.

Graham said SACK is focused on supporting a wide range of individuals. This includes BIPOC, newcomer, refugee, and Indigenous folks from all gender identities and expressions. 

Currently, the funds from the SGPS student activity fee go towards supporting positions that keep wait times as low as possible. 

“Sometimes we run groups and running some training with the Sexual Violence Prevention office at Queen’s,” she said. 

The SGPS fee also allows SACK to ensure continuity in their services for Queen’s students, while also providing professional opportunities to graduate students.

“Without the [SGPS] fee, there definitely would be an increase in our waitlist, because we wouldn’t have the same hours for staff.”  

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