A food bank, which re-opened in UCC last night to help students who cannot afford to feed themselves after they have paid for accommodation and bills, ran out of supplies in under an hour.
The food bank, set up by the university’s students’ union (SU) ran out of non-perishable items in just 50 minutes last night, according to a Tweet from the SU president, Asha Woodhouse.
“50 minutes in we’ve run out of food and have had to turn students away.
“Heartbreaking to not have enough and to see so many students experiencing food insecurity,” Ms Woodhouse wrote.
50 minutes in we’ve run out of food and have had to turn students away. Heartbreaking to not have enough and to see so many students experiencing food insecurity. Is this the @UCC and country we are supposed to be proud of? @SimonHarrisTD https://t.co/dpGdOrZCnm— Asha Woodhouse (@UCCSUPresident) October 6, 2021
“Is this the UCC and country we are supposed to be proud of?” she asked in the tweet, tagging Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris.
Meanwhile Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire had said the reopening of the food bank in UCC is a "stark example of the hardship many students endure trying to get a third-level education".
“Whether it's the fees, transport, or accommodation, the cost of studying is crippling most ordinary workers and families.
“A decade of under-funding of third-level education has pushed more and more costs onto students, and has commercialised many aspects of higher education and college life.
“We have seen alarming reports and research in the past about the level of food insecurity among students, with very high numbers skipping meals to reduce costs.
“We cannot allow higher-education to become a luxury which is only accessible to students from wealthy families.
“Everyone should have a right to continue their education if they wish, regardless of their family’s bank balance,” he said.
Mr Ó Laoghaire said the cost of going to college has “spiralled in recent years and is only getting worse”.
“We need to end the situation where students here pay the highest fees in the EU.
“The Minister needs to also look at increasing the student assistance fund, expanding SUSI to more families, and increasing the maintenance grant to reflect the cost of living to immediately address the cost of living crisis which faces so many students,” he said.
The UCC SU bank provides non-perishable items including pasta, rice, and sauces to students every Wednesday in UCC’s Common Room, between 5pm and 7pm.