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Skip a Meal, Fall 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

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Written by Scott Gilbert

Meal Exchange is one of the CSA's most active services. It makes headlines, performs outstanding community service in Guelph and regularly sets national records – last year it raised over $110,000 on this campus alone!

One of their campus-based initiatives that happens twice a year is called “Skip a Meal”. This semester it will take place from September 22nd and run through October 3rd. The campaign in Fall 2007 was incredibly successful - Guelph students “generously donated over $22,000, the highest amount collected nation wide.”

What happens is volunteers setup outside of on-campus food retail outlets and in residence buildings collecting cash and card donations. The beauty of this program is that students with meal plans can make contributions directly from their U of G meal plan towards this noble cause. Of course, this is not only open to students, but staff as well.

The funds raised go to support 19 local organizations such as food banks and shelters for men and women in need.

The campaign will initially focus on residences from September 22nd to September 28th, where students can receive information about their program from their RA or Interhall Council representative. From there, the campaign will spread campus-wide to classrooms, public spaces, and particularly in front of key on-campus food outlets such as Centre Six, Prairie Cafeteria and Creelman.

To get an idea of how beneficial this program can be, consider that for the average cost of one meal on campus (approx $10), your contribution will supply 4 meals in food banks and shelters.

Guelph's hunger woes are now so dire that one in five go hungry every day – an urgent social problem that urgently needs addressing at every level. By supporting the Skip-a-Meal campaign with a contribution of cash or meal points you will be taking a stand in opposition to this crisis and providing direct support to those who need it most.

The way it works is that when you make your donation, Meal Exchange then goes out and uses the money to purchase as much food as possible in bulk quantities where they get a discounted price, and then donates this food to the appropriate distribution centres throughout the community.

Because Guelph's chapter of Meal Exchange receives a small portion of your students fees each semester, this allows them to operate year-round and put 100% of your donations throughout this campaign towards bulk food purchases. Once purchased the food will be delivered to the food banks and shelters on October 15th, 2008.

Meal Exchange is a national initiative with chapters on several campuses and in numerous cities. For more information on the parent organization you can visit their website here, and for more information on the Guelph chapter, you can check it out here.

Other initiatives throughout the year include the ever-popular “Trick or Eat” that happens on Halloween night, as well as Hunger Awareness Week and the Clear the Shelves initiative. The student-run charity is always seeking volunteers and new members so be sure to check them out this year and contribute your time and resources whenever possible.

For further information about the program, you can contact Guelph's Meal Exchange chapter directly at or by phone in their 2nd floor UC office at ext. 58212. For further media inquiries contact Jordan Thompson: or phone him at 519.821.4120 x 58212 (office) or 519.400.2475 (mobile).


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