By Antonia Barber, Postgraduate Student.
‘Beyond Food’ is a Durham University Student Community Action project which raises awareness of the importance of food banks in the community and encourages students to donate food items by placing them in their college collection box.
Covid-19 has had a disastrous impact on job security and financial stability in the UK. The North East, in particular, has been hard-hit by the economic consequences of the pandemic. There has, therefore, been an increase in the number of people who require the help of their local food bank and food banks needs more donations than ever before.
During our Coronavirus isolation period my household noticed the vast amount of untouched food items in our college-provided food parcels. We felt uncomfortable at the idea that this food could go to waste, especially during a time where so many people are struggling financially and with the government’s decision not to provide Free School Meals during the half-term school holidays. We started to wonder whether students could donate the leftover food in their isolation parcels to the local Foodbank. The Project Manager of the ‘Beyond Food’ Project and the St John’s College Officers approved the idea and agreed that this would be a brilliant way to drive food bank donations, considering that many of the Durham student population were in isolation at the time. The St John’s College Officers also kindly offered to help collect the food with the help of staff volunteers at the end of each household’s isolation period.
Within one week of asking students to hold on to any leftover food in their isolation parcels we had a room full of food items to donate. On the 28th of October St John’s College donated 90.34kg of food which is the equivalent of 114 meals! Thanks to the kind and generous students and staff members of St John’s College many local people will be fed by the donations of our community!
Students from other Durham colleges are now being encouraged to follow our actions and donate leftover items in their isolation food parcels. Well done Johnians!
For more information about ‘Beyond Food’ and local food banks: