With the rising cost of living, many people, including students, are struggling to keep up. As Sackville is a predominately student community the effects of rising costs can be felt throughout the student population. According to Statistics Canada, domestic students face a 2.6% annual change for the 2022–23school year for undergraduate tuition, while international students’ tuition costs face an 8.0% increase. Rising costs not only affect the capability to pay for education, but goods and services needed to live. According to Statistics Canada, the price growth for groceries has slowed as of September 2023, although prices for fresh fruit, fish, bakery products, and edible fats and oils have, on a year-over-year basis, increased faster in September compared to August. Given the nature of these rising costs, one may be wondering what can be done to ease the burden. As many students live off-campus, trying to gather enough resources to live has become harder. In addition, it is not just off-campus students who struggle. Rising costs affect the prices of hygiene products, clothing, and other necessities.
As of October, a new collaboration between the MASU and Student Life has started with the aim to help ease the stresses of the Mt. A community. The Pantry, which is in the Wallace McCain Student Centre on the second floor, in room 282, is open Monday to Friday,from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. The Pantry is run by volunteers who can offer assistance to those who would like to use the space. Otherwise, The Pantry is accessible by walking in and taking what someone may need. If you or someone you know would like to leave donations for The Pantry, they can be dropped off during their hours of operation, or left at their door after-hours. The Pantry aims to provide food and essential items to the larger community. From a news release from Mt. A, the Director of Student Experience, Danai Bélanger, says that The Pantry is not exclusive to students, but extends to the larger community, saying “we know that food insecurity is not an issue only faced by students.” As well, The Pantry is not solely stocked with food, but with other essentials one may need. This includes clothing, reusable bags, sanitary products and hygiene products. Given the large dependency The Pantry has on volunteer donations, there is potential for expansion and evolution to provide additional items to the community. MASU VP, Cailean Clements, said, “we hope [The Pantry] can evolve to reflect the diverse needs of the entire Mt. A community.” With the hope of providing varied food options, pet food, and additional hygienic products.
To keep up with The Pantry, they can be found on Instagram at @ThePantry_MTA. For inquiries about The Pantry, email [email protected]. Moreover, if you are interested in becoming an accessibility representative for The Pantry, please email EDI Student Advisor Lucy Ofori at [email protected].