5 things you may not know about the Campus Food Bank

Priya shares some important info about this critical service.



YouAlberta is written by students for students.

Priya is a former volunteer and current Client Engagement Coordinator with the Campus Food Bank. She recently completed her masters in Epidemiology at the U of A's School of Public Health. Priya is passionate about community service and using research to drive meaningful change.

1. There are skyrocketing needs and usage. 

The Campus Food Bank (CFB) has been experiencing a sharp peak in demand, and appointments for our Supplementary Grocery Program are booked for three weeks out! We are currently experiencing a 50 percent increase in client visits over last fall. Back in 2019-2020, we gave out an average of 827 lbs of food per week and spent a total of $4,243 on food. These numbers more than quadrupled in 2022-2023, when we gave out an average of 4,079 lbs per week and spent over $100,000 on food! 

Per our 2023 client survey, rising grocery prices, increasing costs of living and low income were the top reasons for clients to access the CFB. These statistics mirror the rising cost of living in Edmonton - a 33 percent increase between the years 2006 to 2021.

2. The U of A Community Food Pantry is now up and running!

Located in the Rutherford Library Atrium, anyone needing some food to take home can stop by the pantry and take up to a maximum of five items per visit. The pantry is accessible to anyone with a valid ONEcard, and you don't have to be a current CFB client. The official launch will take place on Jan. 22 at 3:30 p.m. and everyone is welcome

3. Most of our clients are graduate students.

Graduate students, many of whom are international students, comprise the majority of our client base. According to a recent survey by the Graduate Students Association, 40 percent of participants have considered dropping out of their program to save or work due to the rising cost of living.  

4. Needs remain strong.

While our service is designed to be a supplemental grocery program, over 20 percent of our clients said that they were unable to cover the cost of the rest of their food intake. That's more than 400 students! 

5. There are several other CFB programs to support students.

The CFB also offers a variety of food support programs in addition to the Supplementary Grocery Program and Pantry:

WECAN Subsidized Produce and Meat Basket Program: Members pay a $5 annual fee to participate, then pay for the number of orders they'd like each month ($15 for a produce basket and $20 for a meat and produce basket). Items available vary from month to month. Orders are picked up on the third Thursday of the month from the CFB office (first-floor SUB). 

Breakfast Program: There are free grab-and-go breakfasts every Wednesday, starting at 8:30 a.m. until supplies run out, in two locations: SUB, across from SUBmart, and Campus Saint-Jean, in the Grand Salon. 

Campus Kitchens: There are free volunteer-run cooking classes using budget-friendly and tasty recipes, offered twice a month on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. in the Agriculture Forestry Centre teaching kitchen, room 2-36.

Snack Stations: There are free nutritious snack stations in the following locations across North Campus:

  • Chaplains' Centre (walkthrough under HUB Mall)
  • Health Centre (second-floor SUB)
  • Faculty of Education Student Services (main floor Education Building)
  • Faculty of Science Student Services (main floor CCIS)
  • AP!RG Office (HUB Mall)
  • The Landing (lower level SUB) 
  • Indigenous Graduate Students' Association (Tory)
  • International Service Centre (Telus Centre)
  • Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences (ALES) Student Services (Agriculture/Forestry Centre)
  • Faculty of Engineering Student Services (second floor of the Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering (DICE) building)

Wellness Supports (second-floor SUB) Grocery Bus: The Grocery Bus picks students up at the taxi drop-off in front of the HUB/LRT entrance (next to the bus loop), drops them off at Superstore on Gateway Boulevard, Walmart, T&T Supermarket or at some specialty stores on 34th Avenue (Spice Centre, Halal Meat Shops, etc.), and drops them back on campus. Grocery buses run September to April every Saturday at 10 a.m., and once every month from May to August. There is also a route from Campus Saint-Jean this semester.

The University of Alberta is committed to the safety, health and well-being of our faculty, staff and students. Every day, we advance this commitment to safety through the Culture of Care.