Holiday Food Drive: One CAN Make a Difference!

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What is the Students’ Union Food Drive?

Hi everyone, it’s Charlotte, your Community and Volunteering Officer for 2018/19! I’m here to announce a project I have been working on with the External Engagement team and the Students’ Union to help support the local community over the holidays.

From now until Tuesday 18 December, there is a food drive collection point on Highfield Campus (Building 42) which we hope will make a big difference to the lives of people in our local community. I, along with the External Engagement zone of the Students’ Union, have launched this project because the current levels of poverty in Southampton are unacceptable.

Following the collection period, a group of student volunteers will take all of the donations to a nearby food bank run by Southampton City Mission, who will then distribute the food to those in need.

Why do we need a food drive?

As reported in January 2018, nearly one third of all children living in Southampton are living in poverty, with the End Child Poverty Coalition reporting that 30.1% of all children in Southampton are classed as living in poverty. That is 14,938 children going hungry right on our doorstep, and the worst part is that these numbers don’t even take into account all of the parents, surrounding families and homeless people in Southampton who also rely on local food banks for survival.

As students, many of us can relate to struggling financially. The difference is many students only have to support ourselves, and get our living costs supplemented by Student Finance. Meanwhile, many families who rely on benefits have had them frozen by the Government, meaning this Christmas, presents and celebration are out of the question: what they are focused on is survival.

But I’m just one person… can I alone make a difference?

Nobody should have to live in poverty, and I firmly believe that as a University, staff and students alike, we can all make a difference. Approximately, there’s about 25,000 students in Southampton. Can you imagine the difference we could make if we all donated just a single item that’s gathering dust in the back of our cupboards? We’d be able to provide meals for thousands of families.

What can I donate?

You can donate any non-perishable food item. Non-perishable foods have a long shelf-life and don’t need additional care like refrigeration, which makes them versatile, long-lasting and ideal for stocking up. You can probably find several non-perishable food items in your cupboard at home and, if not, they are very cheap to buy!

Non-perishable food items include:

  • Canned fruit, vegetables, beans, fish or meat
  • Dry pasta, rice or noodles
  • Cereals
  • Oats
  • Peanut butter
  • Honey
  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts

Where can I donate?

The food bin is situated on the Concourse inside of the Students’ Union Building (Building 42), and will stay there until Tuesday 18 December 2018.

What else can I do to help?

I would love for some more student volunteers to deliver these food items. It won’t take long and will make you applicable for a STRIVE e-Badge, which is great for your CV! (More info on this can be found here: bit.ly/striveebadges)

For more information, please contact Charlotte at cc8g16@soton.ac.uk.


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