An Interview with Nicole Pin, Registered Dietitian in Food Services
Written by: Abeer Cheema
As a co-op student for Food Services, I had the unique opportunity to witness the impact of the Stock the Bank challenge hosted by WUSA Food Support Service. Stock the Bank, for those unaware, is a competition between teams of UWaterloo students, staff, and faculty to donate non-perishable food items for the WUSA Food Support Service on campus. This service provides food and hygiene hampers for undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Waterloo community. Stock the Bank donations work on a ‘points’ system, with more points going towards those items most needed. From November 1st to December 1st, the entire Food Services department came together to collect over 2800 points worth of non-perishables for Stock the Bank. This put our team in first place amongst the steep competition!
As part of our donations, we took the proceeds from our holiday raffle and purchased additional non-perishable grocery items to go towards our total donation. This included 42 boxes of cereal, and 204 cans of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. This monumental event made me curious about the work and effort put in by the departments within Food Services to achieve such a result.
When speaking with Nicole Pin, Registered Dietitian in Food Services, she explained the initiatives Food Services took to raise the most points and how organization and passion was essential to their success.
First of all, congratulations on winning the Stock the Bank challenge. Can you tell me a bit about how the challenge went? What do you think made it so successful?
The Stock the Bank challenge is a fantastic opportunity for team building and supporting the community. We participated last year as well, and find that our units get excited about the campaign and feel good knowing the donations go directly to those on campus who need it the most. It can be hard bringing together such a large team for a common cause, but I think as folks who work in food service, we understand how important access to food is for the community and appreciate the service that WUSA can offer to students.
Could you expand upon any initiatives Food Services took in raising food and money for Stock the Bank?
We try really hard to make our individual units aware that the challenge is happening and encourage donations of all shapes and sizes. The great thing about a campaign like this is that everyone can participate! Whether you bring in a can of beans from your pantry, or a whole case of cereal, every little bit counts towards our success! One new initiative we took this year was using our holiday raffle as a second opportunity to support our campaign. We always have suppliers donate raffle prizes to our annual holiday celebration, and this year we let staff know that proceeds from the purchase of raffle tickets would go towards further donations. This was really successful in boosting our overall donations and offered another way for staff to participate in the challenge.
What do you think is the most important lesson you’ve learned from participating in Stock the Bank?
Stock the Bank is always a great reminder of the value of giving back and helping those in need. It also helps us to remember to be grateful for what we have and understand that anyone could find themselves in a position where they require assistance in the future. We hope it builds awareness that there are supports for anyone going through a challenging time and inspires others to get more involved in food support initiatives. Post-secondary students are quickly becoming one of the most rapidly growing groups of food bank users in Ontario and we are proud to support the Food Security initiatives in our community, especially those on our campus.