The College’s Student Food Cupboard is a program which provides students in need with access to nutritious food and hygiene supplies free of charge.
Launched on September 14, the socks feature a breakfast food pattern and are available for purchase until supplies last. Individuals who want to support the Student Food Cupboard, and expand their collection of fun, decorative socks, can place their orders online on the WE BE US website.
WE BE US, co-founded by Nick Foley, coordinator of the College’s Public Relations – Event Management program, has a history of collaboration with the College. “We created our company with a business model built on contributing to social good,” said Foley. “Our partnership with Loyalist allows us to have direct, positive impact in our local community.”
WE BE US is one of about 10,000 social enterprise businesses in Ontario, according to the provincial government. These businesses generate jobs and millions of dollars for the Ontario economy, while also placing a focus on contributing to positive social impact.
On July 22, Loyalist and WE BE US partnered to host a Drive-Thru Donation Drop-Off, a contactless event where community members could drop off non-perishable goods such as canned food, soap and toothpaste as donations to the Student Food Cupboard.
“The response to the Drive-Thru event surpassed our expectations,” said Erin Murray, Manager, Planning and Sustainability at Loyalist College. “Thanks to our community’s generous donations, we were able to restock our shelves of critical items and provide this service to a larger number of students in need.”
To ensure that students can safely access the Student Food Cupboard, the College launched an online shopping platform in July and has since seen an increase in demand.
“Students have communicated their food security concerns, be it related to COVID-19 or challenges with finding employment,” said Murray. “The Student Food Cupboard helps alleviate their stress and concern around access to healthy foods.”
For WE BE US, supporting food banks and local food security has been a priority since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When food banks across Canada experienced a surge in demand and a decrease in volunteers due to COVID-19, Foley tapped into his business community to help. “WE BE US has an active network of supporters and partner organizations,” he said. “In April, we launched a campaign and reached out to those connections, asking them to donate to food banks in any way possible.”
The campaign was inspired by Foley’s fellow Loyalist College faculty members and the creative ways they have pulled together to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, my colleagues in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Practical Nursing and Paramedic programs have worked on the front lines,” he said. “Faculty in the Skilled Trades have used their knowledge to manufacture personal protective equipment. I believe those of us in the business world can also make contributions for social good. We can all apply our unique skills to help people where we can.”
To support the Loyalist College Student Food Cupboard directly, visit loyalistcollege.com/donate, and select the Student Food Cupboard from the donation drop-down menu.