On-Campus Resources: The Food Bank

Eating healthy during the academic year is a challenge for many students. Not only is it impossible to incorporate cooking and meal prep into your busy schedule, but shopping for healthy, organic items is nearly impossible on a student budget. As a result, many students sacrifice nutrition for fast and cheap food options that lack the nutritional value they need to function properly. However, many Queen’s students haven’t discovered this hidden resource on campus that can help them eat healthy and organically without exceeding their budget: The Food Bank.

The food bank is an on-campus service located in the John Deutsch University Centre that offers food service for students. They’re funded mainly through donations, but also rely on student fees from both the Alma Mater Society and the Society for Graduate and Professional Students for their financing. As a non-profit organization, all people involved with the food bank are volunteers, so all proceeds can go towards buying fresh produce and goods on a weekly basis. The products they have are all out for grabs and can range from fresh fruits, dairy and meat products to canned goods, cereal and various snack items. On top of their great selection of produce, they offer a range of other items such as feminine products and baby products for anyone in need of them.

Even though the food bank is an amazing resource on campus, the vast majority of students don’t seem to utilize it. A common misconception that students and people in general have about the food bank on campus is that you must be of a certain financial status in order to qualify or justify using the food bank. This is not the case! Students require no specific circumstances or financial status to be able to use the food bank. The founders and volunteers of the food bank just want all Queen’s students to live a healthy and productive life during their time at Queens. 

It is imperative to everyone – especially students – to ensure that they are maintaining a healthy diet and meeting their daily nutrition requirements. A healthy diet is comprised of a rich amount of fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats that contain healthy fibres, minerals and vitamins with a reduced content of salt, processed sugars and trans-fats. Most quick and cheap foods that students resort to are low in healthy nutrients and high in trans-fats, resulting in a poor diet. An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of obesity, heart problems and strokes later on in life, which is why eating healthy is essential at a young age. Besides preventing health problems in later life, a good diet leads to a better overall health and results in stronger bones, improved gut health and even improved moods. In 2016, researchers found that a diet with a high glycemic level (highly processed foods like French fries, white bread, etc.) could contribute to elevated depression symptoms and fatigue. A good diet not only benefits a person’s physical well-being, but also their mental well-being.

For students, their own health and well-being should be just as much of a priority as their academics, and maintaining a healthy diet is major factor in this. With the help of amazing student resources like the food bank, students can afford to maintain a healthy diet, and therefore, a healthier overall lifestyle.