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'Heartbreaking to not have enough': UCC food bank runs out of stock 50 minutes after reopening

Students’ expenses for food are estimated to be between €250 to €350 per month.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

Updated Oct 6th 2021, 9:39 PM

THE UCC STUDENTS’ Union (UCCSU) has run out of food at its food bank just 50 minutes after reopening it. 

The need for the food bank comes as students contacted the Students’ Union reporting that they were struggling to afford food after paying rent. 

In a tweet, UCCSU said they were “disheartened” to announce the reopening of the food bank but it was needed “due to increased cost of living, and cost of being in higher education as well as many other issues that strain students financially”.

In a tweet tonight, UCCSU President Asha Woodhouse said they had run out of food just 50 minutes after reopening the bank and “have had to turn students away”. 

“Heartbreaking to not have enough and to see so many students experiencing food insecurity,” Woodhouse said.

Earlier today, UCCSU Welfare Officer Caoimhe Walsh told The Journal that since taking up her position in June numerous students had rung her with concerns about being able to afford food.

“We’re getting a lot of students who were ringing me and telling me that once they paid off their rent, they had no money left for food.”

There had already been reports that students were seeking help with accessing food this year. “We saw an article online about how students had been going to Cork Penny dinners for food,” Walsh said.

UCCSU first launched the food bank for students back in 2019 in order to provide for students who couldn’t afford the bare necessities and are dealing with food insecurity.

Speaking about the food banks reopening today Walsh said, “it was really sad that we have to do it again… We were hoping that things weren’t as bad.”

The UCC website says that the average cost of living per month in Cork is between €1,240 and €1,880.

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Average monthly expenses for students food are estimated to be between €250 to €350.

It also says that students can expect to pay a minimum of €500 per month for private rented accommodation before bills. On-campus accommodation at UCC is estimated to cost €600 to €680 per month.

UCCSU’s announcement of the reopening of the food bank on Monday came as the government launched the National Development Plan.

Two weeks ago, UCCSU, alongside the Union of Students Ireland (USI) slept out at the Dáil in protest of the student accommodation crisis.

Speaking about the student accommodation crisis Walsh said, “it’s getting harder and harder for students to afford [accommodation], which is just absolutely ridiculous. Something needs to be done.”

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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