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On Giving Tuesday, Nova Scotia universities encourage support for student‑led food security programs
Monday, November 30, 2020 (Halifax, NS) – In an unprecedented move, nine Nova Scotia universities, in partnership with their student unions, are combining their efforts to improve food security for students on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1. Working closely with Dalhousie University, the J & W Murphy Foundation inspired this collaboration, providing a minimum donation of $3,500 to each university with the potential for additional matching funds if the campaigns exceed this threshold. At Dalhousie, the Foundation has agreed to match gifts from individuals up to $20,000.
“I’d like to thank the J & W Murphy Foundation for their generosity,” says Deep Saini, President of Dalhousie University. “COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone, and it’s had significant impacts on our students. Because of the Murphys’ financial commitment, donors will be able to make twice the impact on the fantastic work of our Dalhousie Student Union through student-run programs that improve food security. To support this important initiative, the university will provide $1,000 as an opening gift.”
“We are so very grateful to Murphys, our donors and our community for the additional support we’ve received to enhance our strong and ongoing commitment to student health and wellbeing," says Frank Harvey, Dalhousie's Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic. "The DSU's commitment to our students' food security includes an impressive set of key initiatives that should be celebrated and supported, which is why we are thrilled to be working with the Murphy's Foundation to build on the DSU's success through this matching fund program."
Food insecurity is the uncertainty that an individual is and will be able to eat well. It means they struggle to afford, access and store healthy food, or to have the time and skills to shop for and prepare nutritious meals. According to Statistics Canada, food insecurity affects between 10 and 14% of Canadians and is more prevalent in families with children. Other studies show that these rates approximately triple amongst post-secondary students, suggesting that two out of five (39%) of Canadian university students have experienced some degree of food insecurity.
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the situation.
"As COVID-19 shut down our schools and universities, libraries and restaurants, drop-in centres and meal support services, we knew we had to step up to help prevent vulnerable Nova Scotians from falling through the cracks,” says Lisa Murphy, on behalf of the family foundation she and her sister, Karen Spaulding, co-direct. “That includes students, many of whom have lost jobs and access to on-campus food services," says Murphy.
The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) has a collective of initiatives that aim to help students become more food secure. Programs make free food available, subsidize the cost of locally grown produce and teach students how to budget for, purchase, prepare and store nutritious food.
Isa Wright, Vice President of Finance and Operations for the DSU, is a student leader in food security: “On behalf of the DSU, I’d like to thank the J & W Murphy Foundation for their kindness and support for our students. And I would encourage everyone to take part in this year’s Giving Tuesday and make a difference in the life of a student who may be struggling.”
This year, Saint Mary’s University, Mount Saint Vincent University, St. Francis Xavier University, Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Atlantic School of Theology, NSCAD University and the University of King’s College have joined Dalhousie in raising funds to improve food security for their students.
To learn more or to make a donation, please visit: projectdal.ca/foodsecurity.
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