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Do the Math

Do the Math 2011 - Student Reflections: Can You Live on a food bank box for one week?

“I am quickly becoming tired and lethargic on my diet of canned foods and toast.  I have been sleeping significantly more than usual, and today I noticed a dramatic difference in my running performance on a route that I run regularly.  I am certain that being on this diet for a year would drastically influence  the types of activities I participate in, my levels of motivation, and my social life.  I would also expect to get sick much more frequently.” – Student from Arts and Science

“Initially, I didn’t think this challenge would impact me more than just a little hunger and cravings for fresh food.  I was super surprised to find that I didn’t make it to 3/5 of my morning classes due to my excessive tiredness.  When I did make a point to sit down and study, I was much less effective than usual, and much less motivated to even start…  None of this makes for effective learning” – Student from the Faculty of Humanities

“I have learned that living on social assistance or having to ask for food from a bank carries strong stigmas.  It was hard for me to explain to my friends and family that I could not spend money on food, and I felt frustrated when they insisted I just go out and pay for a dinner instead of making the food provided from Do the Math.  I have a lot of respect for individuals that are brave enough to ask for help, because it is not an easy thing to do” – Student from the Faculty of Social Sciences

“I definitely couldn’t make ends meet if I lived alone.  Even with social assistance, I don’t think I could pay for a full life.  I would have to stop buying food, paying to get into social gatherings, refrain from buying drinks that I want, and basically stop buying full-priced anything” – Student from the School of Business

“I feel like I’m more aware and curious about the issues of food insecurity and what that really means in terms of a student.  Being a student is stressful enough without having to worry about what your next meal will be, how hungry you are, how little energy you have…Being on this diet made me really conscious of how many limitations are placed on people that live on social assistance” – Student from the Faculty of Science

“I thought about food a lot and couldn’t buy food when I was hungry or wanted something in particular, which was frustrating.  Clearly the laws and lawmakers are out of touch with this situation, and it seems like many of the general population are too” – Student from the School of Engineering

“The biggest new question I have is how the government could allow this to continue when food is such a large part of wellbeing and health, and the issues of poverty still affect such a large portion of our population” – Student from Health Sciences