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Strath Pantry Launched

Strath Union have teamed up with the SU Foodbank Society to launch Strath Pantry ahead of Christmas

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This year Strath Union wants to help support students through the cost-of-living crisis and so, in partnership with Strathclyde University Foodbank Society, they’re launching Strath Pantry! The pantry will operate in the run up to the Christmas break and will be available to any student that needs it without question or judgement at any time the Union is open.  

Any items left at the end of term as we are due to close for the winter break will be donated by the Foodbank Society to the Trussel Trust North East Glasgow Foodbank. A list of food items typically included in an emergency food box provided by a Trussel Trust foodbank can be found here. They also accept non-food items such as toiletries, sanitary products, and household items.

There’s plenty of ways to get involved! From donating items, volunteering your time to help and attending fundraising events!

Items can be left at the Welcome Desk at the main entrance of Strath Union

Chatting to Jasmine Bowie, president of Strathclyde University Foodbank Society

How did this collaboration with the Union become a thing?

Our collaboration with the union is new! They reached out to us recently, excited about the work we're doing, especially with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. They wanted to expand that to help serve students more in the community - the work we do currently only serves the foodbank, where you need to be referred by a registered agency (a social worker, GP, asylum centre etc). Obviously, those pathways work best for people in crisis, but for students who are just finding it increasingly tight to pay the bills, an open-access model is best! So, the Union is facilitating collections which students can use in the run up to Christmas, and anything left over will go to the foodbank.

What does the Foodbank Society usually get up to?

Activities are usually really varied. We don't tend to have regular meetings - we just stay in touch over WhatsApp and can scramble a team to respond to whatever needs there are!

Sometimes a society will run a collection, which is always amazing. We'll organise for member to be there to collect it and take it to our store. Then, when we have enough, we take it to the foodbank and make the donation!                             

We also go to the foodbank whenever they need us to help organise the supplies, make up boxes, or help with some of the bigger collections we do. We've attended several huge events at Celtic park and the OVO hydro, collecting food or financial donations! Those are always fantastic events, and there's the bonus of gig and football tickets after ??

Why would you encourage people to get involved with SU Foodbank Society?

My main point I'd like to make is just how much I love that this society connects us to the community outside of the university. It's so easy to slip into an academic bubble of students and professors, and not engage with the people across the street from you, or down the close. But the reality is, more people than ever are struggling right in the heart of our community and being able to do something about that is really rewarding!

You also meet such amazing, strong, dedicated people who work and volunteer under such stressful conditions but give so much to make things better for the people they support!

You won a few awards last year, what were they and how did that feel?

This year we won the National Student Fundraising award for best collaboration, alongside Mary's Meals society, which was insane. We travelled down to Loughborough and had a three-day conference with so many other student fundraisers around the UK! It was amazing, and we are so honoured to have won. We also won the Astrid Yeates STAR award at Strath Union, for charity project of the year, for the same collaboration.

The collaboration was a donation drive we ran with Mary's Meals. We collected food supplies for the foodbank, and they collected backpacks filled with resources for children in Malawi, so it was a super great home-and-away kind of thing!  Fitting them both together to help people both abroad and next door.

What events have you got coming up this semester?

We have a quiz coming up for Christmas! It’s so important to be fundraising right now so we’re hoping to make a great event of it.

It’s the 17th December, so after exams. One hundred percent of the funds raised will be given directly to the foodbank, supporting them through this cost-of-living crisis and we’ve received some phenomenal prizes!  Including some extremely kind donations from local business. If a quiz isn’t your thing there’ll be a raffle after. So, It’s definitely worth coming along to celebrate the end of exams and raise some money!

Anyone interested in getting involved with the Foodbank Society should get in touch with them over on Instagram or head along to their events!

The pantry will open once enough donations have been received so look out for information on ways to donate items, volunteer your time and how to access this resource!


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