Student need reaches all-time high

CNA addresses hunger, wellness issues through Pantry Program

11/8/2022 2:48:50 PM

STEPHENVILLE, NL — There is an urgency for food and basic necessities to assist students in need who study on College of the North Atlantic (CNA) campuses, and while the college is answering the call, it is asking for the public’s help.

CNA’s Pantry Program has been in place since January 2022; quietly working in the background to provide food bank-like services to anyone who needs it. (See: Pantry Program) At that time, students at Port aux Basques campus built the pantry cabinet shelving for all 17 CNA campuses throughout Newfoundland and Labrador so they could properly store their goods and supplies.
CNA is asking the public for assistance in supporting the college’s Pantry Program, which addresses the urgent need for food, goods and hygiene items being experienced by many of its students throughout the province. Donations to help keep the pantries stocked can be made at either of the 17 campuses throughout the province or at

However, the challenge to keep the shelves stocked has grown exponentially since the program began, and the college, with the full support of CNA’s executive leadership team, believes it’s time to embark on a donation campaign to ensure a greater security of food and other essential supplies for its students.

Jeff Martin, CNA’s Director of Student Experience, says starting on Tuesday, November 8 and running until Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, CNA is accepting donations to help keep their pantries stocked. The need has been so great that students are accessing the pantries faster than they can be filled, so the public appeal aims to help fill that gap.

“The great thing about our program is that students are encouraged to take only what they need on a day-by-day basis so that others in need can also avail of the pantries, including food and personal hygiene items. We don’t ask questions and we don’t track usage; however, if students find themselves in greater need than a meal or two, we ask that they meet with a counsellor to see if they can avail of CNA’s Student Emergency Fund, which was created to handle larger emergency situations. All we know is there are times when shelves have been bare and that’s very disconcerting for us. Hungry students have greater difficulty learning and studying, and that is also causing them greater stress on their health and wellness overall.”

Martin says this additional student duress is evident with the increased use of guidance counselling services throughout CNA.

“We are proud to be able to offer these services to support our students,” he noted. “We want them to be able to focus on their schooling and not worrying about where their next meal will come from.”

Anna Peddle, CNA’s Manager of Alumni and Advancement, says the college received several donations to kickstart the program from donors, such as Walker Woods Foundation and TD Insurance. In addition to this, CNA has received generous donations from its employees though its Giving Makes Cents payroll deduction program launched in late 2020. Among the choices of where employee contributions would go is “Areas of Greatest Need,” and Peddle notes that $5,000 is being used from there to support the Pantry Program.

“The cost of everything has gone up … food, fuel, goods and services … it’s difficult for students to make ends meet, and unfortunately, we see that sacrifices that are made every day. Whether or not to eat is one of them. CNA is appealing to the public to provide whatever they are able, whether it’s non-perishable food and personal hygiene supplies that can be dropped off to the campuses nearest where they live, or through monetary donations. Anything and everything is most appreciated.”

Some of the most in-demand items are:
Canned meats and fish                                                  Rice
Canned vegetables                                                         Soups
Mayonnaise                                                                       Crackers
Peanut Butter/Jams                                                        Tea/coffee
Personal hygiene items (toothpaste/                      Pasta & sauces
toothbrushes, menstrual products, etc.)

The campaign will continue through to Giving Tuesday, which is being held on Nov. 29. All proceeds given to the college that day will go directly to the CNA Pantry Program. However, it should be noted that donations will still be accepted after that date, as the need is anticipated to continue.

Peddle says there are many ways to give, either locally at the campuses or through monetary donations via the college’s website:

“We believe it’s important to provide our students with the tools they need to be successful at CNA,” she added. “We want to continue replenishing all 17 campus pantries with free nutritious food and goods for all students throughout the year.”

For any questions about how you can support CNA’s Pantry Program, email:

To contact a local campus near you for in-person contributions, visit: Explore Our Campuses

Media contact:

Ryanne McIsaac
Content Specialist
College of the North Atlantic