Volume 95, Issue 35

Friday, November 2, 2001
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Hellyer: U.S. will swallow Canada

The world at war

P/Ters want full-time respect

Pass the lentils: free lunch at Lakehead

Airline expert: security requires loss of privacy

UWO takes anthrax precautions

Smoker of the Week

Pass the lentils: free lunch at Lakehead

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

Potatoes are feeding hungry mouths at a Northwestern Ontario university.

Thunder Bay's Lakehead University has recently become the only Ontario university to offer a free hot lunch to students in need. The People's Potato provides students who frequent Lakehead's food bank with a hot lunch while at school.

Jeremy Salter, president of the Lakehead University Students' Union, said he started the "People's Potato" program this fall, after visiting Montreal's Concordia University, the only other Canadian university with a similar program.

One of the driving factors behind the pilot program is the high cost of post-secondary education, Salter said.

"It's extremely cheap to run," he said, adding the vegan meals are cooked at The Outpost – Lakehead's student pub – and are prepared at cost of only 30 cents per plate.

Approximately 30 students are taking advantage of the program, which operates one day a week, but may later become daily, Salter said.

The hot lunch program could be undertaken by any student government willing to take the initiative, Salter said.

"It's so simple, so cheap and the effects are fantastic," he said.

"[The hot lunch program is] a great idea [and] a positive initiative," said Sera Vavala, VP-campus issues for the University Students' Council.

"I don't know if it would be feasible [here]," she said, adding the food bank at Western is still only in its second year of operation.

"[The food bank] is so fresh that we don't know if there is a high demand," Vavala said, adding the USC is trying to keep the food bank as discreet and confidential as possible.

"We are trying to keep it as non-threatening as possible," she said.

Vavala said an upcoming poster campaign will aim to raise awareness about the food bank.

A hot meal program at Western is a good idea and should be tried out, said second-year honours business administration student Stephanie Horwood.

In the meantime, it is important that students who need the food bank are made aware of it's existence, she added.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001