Non-profit soup bar open­ing at Hum­ber

Chef wants stu­dents to fo­cus on their stud­ies, not on how to af­ford food

Toronto Star - - GTA - EMER­ALD BENSADOUN STAFF RE­PORTER

Hum­ber Col­lege is get­ting a new pay-what-you-can soup bar meant to feed hun­gry stu­dents while help­ing elim­i­nate food waste in the city.

“My the­ory is the empty stom­ach is an empty mind,” said Jag­ger Gor­don, ex­ec­u­tive chef at Feed It For­ward, a com­mu­nity food pro­gram.

“If we can fill those stom­achs, they can make brighter new pos­si­bil­i­ties for our fu­ture. If we can ad­dress (stu­dent hunger) and give them their meals, then they can just fo­cus on their scholas­tics.”

The not-for-profit pro­gram, which res­cues food from food ter­mi­nals, restau­rants, su­per­mar­kets and bak­eries, has teamed with Hum­ber Col­lege and its IG­NITE Stu­dent Union on the Soup Bar, a soup and stew bar at 205 Hum­ber Col­lege Blvd. in Eto­bi­coke.

Start­ing on Tues­day, the Soup Bar will be open from-11a.m. to 2 p.m. Tues­day and Thurs­day and of­fer stu­dents the op­tion of pay­ing what they can or eat­ing for free if that’s all they can af­ford.

Gor­don said all the food on of­fer will be made by his team from res­cued food, in­clud­ing food and food byprod­ucts from the col­lege.

“This is an­other way of show­ing how food that’s des­tined for land­fills can be put into nu­tri- tious and bal­anced meals and give it back to peo­ple who are liv­ing with food in­se­cu­ri­ties,” said Gor­don, founder of Feed It For­ward.

The ini­tia­tive fol­lows a pay-what-you-can gro­cery store opened in June on Dun­das St. W., near Run­nymede Rd. by Feed It For­ward, whose list of sup­pli­ers in­clude Whole Foods Mar­ket, FreshCo., Cobs Bread and Fred’s Bread.

Un­like the Feed It For­ward gro­cery store, Gor­don said there will be no limit to how much stu­dents can take, and urged stu­dents to eat “un­til your belly’s full.”

Gor­don said he was “gob­s­macked” to learn how many chil­dren and stu­dents were strug­gling to make it to their next meal, prompt­ing him to be­gin look­ing fur­ther into stu­dents and food in­se­cu­rity. A 2016 re­port by Meal Ex­change, a na­tional char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion, found 39 per cent of Cana­dian post-se­condary stu­dents are food “in­se­cure,” with stu­dents sur­veyed say­ing the cost of food, tu­ition fees and hous­ing costs were the most com­mon con­trib­u­tors to their sit­u­a­tion.

Mon­ica Khosla, pres­i­dent of IG­NITE Stu­dent Union, said de­mand among stu­dents for ini­tia­tives like Feed it For­ward’s is grow­ing.

“There’s a re­ally big need for it, es­pe­cially since a lot of things these days are go­ing to waste or too ex­pen­sive,” Khosla said. “With our ini­tia­tive specif­i­cally, we’re tack­ling both of those is­sues.”

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