By Nicole Siena
On Monday morning, Akul Goel walked into The Community Food Room for the first time. After passing by Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) posters, he finally gathered the courage to walk in and ask for help.
Goel, who moved to Canada from India last year after accepting his offer for the computer engineering program, pays for all of his own expenses.
“I figured if I could get even a little help, then that would be fine,” he said.
The Community Food Room has been a part of Ryerson campus for 18 years.
Caitlin Smith, RSU president, said students are sometimes required to wear many hats. The food room is there to help students in need.
“We try to normalize [going to the food room]. We’re all broke, we’re all paying for rent, we’re all paying tuition,” she said. “There’s no shame in feeding yourself. That’s what we’re here for: providing services to help students be a student.”
Gilary Massa, equity and campaign organizer for the RSU, said that it is an interesting experience volunteering at the food room.
“There’s a diversity of people from first year students to students with children,”she said. “There’s a stigma. But it’s the nature of the education system.”
Sometimes students need to make the choice between food and textbooks .
“It’s sad but normal that students need this service,” said Massa.
The food room gets a food delivery every other Tuesday from the Daily Bread Food Bank and accepts donations from faculties and student groups. Eighty-eight students have already registered for this year and usage in August went up to 273 students.
Goel said he understands people who don’t want to get food from someone else, but “that’s just something you have to overcome.”