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Cost of living crisis felt in Oxford as Hertford opens JCR food bank

Hertford College JCR has put in place a food bank to help address food insecurity in the student body.

In order to help the increasing number of students now struggling to purchase sufficient and nutritious food, a food bank has been set up in Hertford college. The initiative was proposed by Anya Tregay, Class representative for the Hertford JCR, and seconded by Orlaith Lindsay, the JCR secretary. 

In their JCR motion, they highlighted that the cost of rent at Hertford has gone up 8.5% since Trinity Term 2022. This increase, coupled with the general cost of living crisis, has made purchasing food and other resources difficult. While Hertford has increased their bursaries, many of which are awarded automatically to those who qualify, Tregay and Lindsay believe that “this may not be enough to allow all students a comfortable financial position”. They also stress that it may be intimidating for students to use existing local Oxford food banks.

The motion, which was adopted following a general JCR meeting this past Sunday, October 18, highlights that students should not only be able to access necessities from the food bank. They should equally be able to take “non-essential” items like tea, coffee and cereals, as these are essential to student comfort and quality of life. 

This initiative comes directly from the students, a testament to “the heart and community spirit of Hertford”, according to one student. However, the same student was frustrated that College and University administration have not done more to address the cost of living crisis. They note that Hertford is beginning “expensive building projects such as a new library and graduate centre”. This student, who is now “counting the pennies of [their] weekly shop”, wishes that more support was available to low income students. Hertford, for their part, has put in place additional support schemes for students struggling. In an email to Cherwell, a college spokesperson voiced the administration’s full support of the JCR food bank initiative.

Tregay announced in a JCR Facebook post that there is now a donation bin in the JCR. She wrote that students who are struggling shouldn’t feel nervous to take what they need. All students who can are encouraged to donate non-perishable goods to help their peers.

Image Credit: [Michael D Beckwith]/[CC 0] via [Wikimedia Commons]

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