SAMRU student resources are keeping students fed at next to no cost
By Cassie Weiss, Features Editor
It’s the final countdown! (Cue epic battle music here.) But seriously, there is just over one month left in the semester, and that is both terrifying and exciting. For some, it means going home for the holidays. For others, it means finally leaving home to go back to work for a couple of weeks. And for those like me, it really just means hibernating under a mound of blankets and watching Netflix until the inevitable winter semester rolls back in with the cold, snowy days of January.
Regardless of which category you fall into, I can bet my last dollar that you’re pretty busy — too busy, in fact, to do anything else other than study, and maybe work, because we all have to eat, right? And that’s the thing — when it feels like a semester’s worth of assignments are packed into the last few weeks of November, being stressed out about your next meal should be the last thing on your mind.
Did you know that the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University (SAMRU) has you covered? Did you also know there are multiple organizations throughout Calgary that provide low-cost — sometimes even free — meals and/or food hampers for those struggling to maintain a consistent cash flow? Things are a little bit different this year due to the small issue of the pandemic we are all collectively experiencing, but SAMRU still has your back. Read on to discover the secrets of low-cost food for scrambling students.
SAMRU care packages
Replacing the Free Breakfast Program and the Food and Hygiene Cupboard, SAMRU is now putting together student care packages which consist of ready-to-take single bag hampers of non-perishable food and hygiene supplies. All students have to do to reserve their relief bag is email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-440-6077 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Student ID is required for this reservation.
Calgary Interfaith Food Bank
The CIFB is a godsend to those struggling to keep food in the fridge. With seven separate hampers available for use in a single year period, each one features perishable (meat, cheese, milk, etc.) and non-perishable items that (literally) stuff your cupboards and freezer shelves. You’ll have more boxes of Kraft Dinner and more cartons of eggs than you will know what to do with. SAMRU is also an official depot and will even provide hampers to the surrounding community. Students can request their hamper on SAMRU’s website.
Good Food Box
A delicious box of fresh fruits and veggies, delivered for you to MRUl once a month. There are three different sizes to choose from — a 20-lb box for $25, a 30-lb box for $30 or a 40-lb box for $35 — and sometimes there are even recipes included. Though, if there aren’t, you can type your ingredients into Google and it will find a recipe for you. Still operating during the pandemic, Good Food Box is now taking all orders over the phone and taking payment by credit card. Once the order arrives, students can go to reception to pick up their box. All orders are due by 3:30 p.m. on the order date, and then can be picked up on the delivery date between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. To order, all you have to do is call reception at 403-440-6077.
SAMRU’s mobile grocery store
Although the Fresh Routes mobile grocery store was shut down for most of the summer, the end of October sparked their return to the Calgary community. Although they operate all over the city — their schedule shows where they will be each day — Fresh Routes spends every Friday, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., in MRU’s West Residence conference room.
This pop-up food market features reasonably-priced fruits and veggies for everyone to purchase, with the specific goal of ensuring students are fed without having to break the bank. Credit and debit cards are accepted. Bring your own bag to help save the environment while you are saving your pennies.
Of course, there are a ton of other food resources in the city that students and residents can access, and the list can be found by searching Calgary Free Food Resources online. Alberta Health Services also has a full list. This document consists of multiple pages listing food hampers, community breakfasts and lunches and a multitude of other resources separated by city sector.
The end of the semester is stressful, and with the added stress of the pandemic, sometimes thinking of where your next meal is going to come from is the last thing you want to do. Access the resources the city and SAMRU have and focus your brain on your studies, without having to focus on your empty stomach.
Note: Special thanks to SAMRU for all of their hard work, today and every day, especially during this trying time.