Support a campus kitchen at UPEI

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Re: Open Letter on the Removal of Appliances in the Faculty Lounge Kitchen

Dear Ms. Jackie Podger and Offices of Administration and Finance at UPEI:

Over the last year, the Panther Pantry Food Collective has existed as the only student-led group on campus dedicated to addressing food insecurity at UPEI. Of the many challenges we have faced since our inception, the most difficult has been finding a dedicated space to cook on campus. We are writing to you again to ask for the reinstallation of the appliances in the Faculty Lounge Kitchen, as well as permission for this space to be designated for the use of ourselves, as the Panther Pantry, as well as for faculty, staff, student groups, and the whole student body.

In the year that we have existed, we have built a solid network, both within UPEI and with outside organizations who have been generous with their time and support on this project. The PEI Food Exchange offered gleaning opportunities; the Charlottetown Farmers Market, Allen St. Sobey’s, Charlottetown ValueVillage, and Brookfield Gardens were generous with their donations; the PEI Food Share opened up a network of volunteers; and finally this spring we were fortunate to have been awarded a grant from the City of Charlottetown to continue our work.

A recent study at Acadia University found that 38% of their students experience food insecurity, similar numbers are seen on campuses across the country. While there are community organizations across PEI that work in alleviating food insecurity, UPEI has a role to play in addressing the unique struggles of university students. To combat these extraordinarily high food insecurity rates, we are hoping to serve as often as our volunteers and donations would permit.

Your removal of the appliances in the Faculty Lounge Kitchen has unfortunately set us back once again. We appreciate your safety concerns and take them very seriously, however, we are asking you to work with us so that we can continue our important mandate of  feeding students who otherwise would not be eating on campus. We strictly follow food safety regulations and will ensure that we are in line with the Food Premises Regulations outlined in the Public Health Act. We have the ability and will take the appropriate measures to renew the kitchen space to ensure food safety.

Making this space available to us will show that the university is in fact concerned with the issue of student hunger and is making steps together with students to address these issues. Thank you for your time and effort in this matter. We sincerely hope that the University of Prince Edward will work together with us so that we can address this important issue.


Claire Byrne and the Panther Pantry


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