Jess Reid and Tash Miller at the launch of the Community Pantry.

Stirling Union launch community fridge to tackle student hardship

3 mins read

The University of Stirling’s Union has launched a community fridge and pantry to alleviate food poverty and financial stress during the cost of living crisis.

On opening day, the pantry was stocked with £150 worth of food and by evening it had been taken.

The Union Community Food Initiative was funded by alumni through the Stirling Fund and opened on November 28 next to the Green and Blue Space sustainability shop.

The pantry is being stocked by the Union until their partnership with FareShare – a charity that distributes surplus food – begins and provides weekly supplies.

Entrance to Stirling University Union, sign reading "The Union".
Stirling University Union. Image credit: Stirling Union

A spokesperson for the Union said: “The fridge and pantry have been getting used significantly with any food donated or restocks made in the morning, having been taken by the afternoon of that day.

“We have received numerous donations from volunteers of the app Olio which has been supportive and we are in the process of confirming our membership with the charity FareShare.

“Until the FareShare membership is in place we have been bridging the gap through weekly fridge and pantry restocks.

“Following months of work and planning, we are excited that students now have access to this space, particularly as we enter winter, and to support them during the cost of living crisis.

“The reality is food poverty is hitting students hard, we hope the Community Food Initiative can be there to lessen the strain and provide support for students.”

Research from the National Union of Students (NUS) revealed that one in three students are left with just £50 a month after paying rent and bills.

More than one in ten students are reportedly also using food banks.

Donations for the fridge or pantry can be dropped off at the Green & Blue Space during opening hours or given to the Vice President Communities or Union President if given prior notice.

Any food donated should be sealed and within the use-by date, unless marked ‘best before’ and in good condition.

As the Community Food Initiative enters its second phase, the Union are hoping to expand their offering and potentially provide several free meals per week.

They aim to work with student societies and campaigns to “ensure students’ voices are at the forefront”.

Featured image credit: Stirling Union

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