Why I’m A Volunteer at the UTMSU Food Centre

So, you want to get involved more on campus…but you’re just not sure how to make that happen. Well, among all the other great services that UTMSU offers to the student body, they provide grocery services for students in need through the Food Centre. The UTMSU Food Centre is a great way to volunteer your time on campus in support of a cause that directly benefits your fellow school-mates.

I’ve been volunteering with the UTMSU Food Centre since September of 2016. During my time working with Rosario and Victoria, I’ve not only been able to meet new people and make new connections, I have also learned a lot about the realities of food insecurity and how UTMSU is working to make sure that no student has to choose between buying textbooks and buying food. The Food Centre allows students in need to register online and create a list of up to fourteen food items (possibly more) that they need. The Food Centre coordinators organize a shopping list and conduct a shopping trip every other week. As a volunteer, I helped ensure that each person received all of their items. Volunteering for the UTMSU Food Centre means that you get to help members of the UTM community—the program helps many students each year and is a valuable addition to the school community. Volunteers also conduct office hours when they are available and are given access to the Food Centre office in the Davis building and the Equity Services Centre located in the Student Centre. All volunteers are careful to exercise confidentiality so that everyone can feel safe and secure using the Food Centre services.

The Food Centre also hosts occasional events, including a recent cooking class and open house. All UTM students are encouraged to attend these events to learn more about the Food Centre and have some fun on campus! Also, all students have access to fresh produce and hearty food packages with the Food Centre’s Good Food Box. The Good Food Box service lets students purchase packages of produce and other healthy foodstuffs for one low price; they make food and wellness easily accessible to everyone. Rosario and Victoria also make sure to keep the Food Centre offices stocked with canned and other non-perishable items that are available to all students at anytime.

Now you’re probably realizing what a great service the Food Centre is and wondering how you can get involved. Well, Rosario and Victoria are always an email away and are available to answer any questions about volunteering. Also, a weekly office hours schedule is posted on the UTMSU Food Centre Facebook page—feel free to drop in during office hours and speak with the coordinators and volunteers. They’re a big part of the reason why the Food Centre has been so successful in helping students this year; they’re welcoming and friendly and always willing to accommodate. This really is a great resource so even if you’re not in need of this service, share this post with someone that you know who is!

– Alexa Pellerino (Food Centre Outreach and Office Hours Volunteer)