Wodonga TAFE students launch Food Pantry to address student food insecurity
Thursday, 16 November 2023
Students completing Community Services qualifications at Wodonga TAFE were proud to launch their Food Pantry yesterday on campus. This initiative is a direct response to their research project that found 41.35% of survey respondents from Wodonga TAFE’s student population experienced food insecurity.
The initial survey was conducted by the Certificate II in Community Services class, which was followed up by Certificate IV in Community Services students who compiled data and presented a comprehensive research report, ‘Development and Implementation of a Student Food Pantry’. The students submitted their report to Wodonga TAFE’s Support Services team, with the following key findings:
- A significant portion of TAFE students experience food insecurity.
- Students believe a food pantry on campus would be beneficial to student welfare.
Wodonga TAFE has embraced the Student Food Pantry concept in line with the TAFE’s ‘Belonging Framework’ that has a specific focus on student connections, health, and wellbeing. The students also determined appropriate community partnerships and funding opportunities for the project, noting, “Partnerships would provide Wodonga TAFE students experiencing food insecurity with pathways to access additional support that would assist them outside TAFE. This would encourage a further increase in the wellbeing of students and community. Funding would also help Wodonga TAFE increase the support services they could provide, especially for food insecure students.”
The annual projects selected by Community Services students bring students together to complete each project. Community Services teacher, Ms Cathy Prior, said the practical projects enable students to apply skills and knowledge gained throughout their studies, and connect and engage with the community. “It’s always exciting to see students apply their learning to practical, real-life projects that support the local community,” said Cathy. “As well as consolidating their learning, students build real connections and networks within the Community Services sector.”