Need for food, personal products still acute

Ongoing support for CNA’s Pantry Program, hygiene/period products needed

11/24/2023 9:18:19 AM

STEPHENVILLE, NL Post-secondary students face many challenges during the school year. Wondering where their next meal is coming from or how to access hygiene and period products shouldn’t be among them.

With that in mind, College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is asking those who can afford it to participate in Giving Tuesday on November 28 by dropping off non-perishable food items or personal hygiene/period products at one of their 17 campuses province-wide, or to make a cash donation online ( in support of the college’s student Pantry Program.

CNA launched its Pantry Program in January 2022 and the Tampon Tuesday program later that year (in partnership with Bell Media), to address the growing need for help when it comes to food, hygiene/period products and other basic necessities.

Knowing that students are going hungry or doing without some of the most basic items was a reality check that needed to be addressed ASAP, says Jeff Martin, CNA’s Director of Student Affairs.

“We want to ensure that we support our students’ success as much as we possibly can,” he said. “Since we launched this program, we have developed many partnerships, both corporate and community, that have certainly stepped up for our students. Hungry and stressed minds have a negative impact on learning for anyone who finds themselves in that situation. and we appreciate the support we’ve been receiving immensely.”

Each campus throughout Newfoundland and Labrador is equipped with a pantry, made by Cabinetmaker students at Port aux Basques campus, that stores supplies and food items that students can avail of with no questions asked.

As we approach the end of the first semester, and with the holiday season fast approaching, Martin notes that the coming months will undoubtedly see an increase in pantry usage.

“We anticipate the need to be ongoing all year long, and we want to be there for our students,” he said. “Health and wellness have come to the forefront as essential parts of daily living, and we’ve seen that this program has helped a substantial number of students already.”

Heidi Staeben-Simmons, CNA’s Associate Vice President of Public Affairs and Advancement, agrees and says the college has a lot of gratitude for those who have generously given to the Pantry Program, noting contributions have come in many forms.

“It’s often college employees and student groups like the student councils leading the charge,” she said. “But we also see numerous donations from corporations, municipalities, non-profit organizations, raffles, local business, individuals, sponsorship of breakfast programs, and the list goes on. The money has been used throughout all of CNA’s campuses to keep the shelves stocked.

“We are truly thankful for every single item and dollar that has been given, especially since we know there are many organizations out there also struggling with the increased cost of living,” said Staeben-Simmons. “But we know this is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. This need is continuing to grow and students are going to have to make the tough choices or whether to eat or pay the phone bill. We want to ease that burden as much as we can – a little help really does go a long way, and when everyone pitches in, we can touch more lives.”

Some of the most in-demand items include: canned meats and fish, rice, canned vegetables, soups, mayonnaise, crackers, peanut butter/jams, tea/coffee, pasta/sauces, and personal hygiene items (toothpaste/toothbrushes, deodorant, etc.) and period products.

Media contact:

Stephen Lee
Communications Manager
College of the North Atlantic