University gives free meals to students facing financial issues

By Juliano Oliveira

University of Sunshine Coast has decided to provide free meals to domestic and international students affected by COVID-19 crisis.

At six campuses from Fraser Coast to Brisbane, students will find a diverse menu made of roast pork and vegetables, fried rice, large curries and spaghetti Bolognese and cater for all dietary requirements including vegan and gluten-free.

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) Professor Denise Wood AM revealed that many students are struggling to return home or access financial support.

“International students don’t qualify for any welfare in Australia and many have lost their jobs in the crisis but can’t get back home to their support networks,” she said. “So this is a way we can support all students further as they gain their qualifications.

“They are able to visit their local campus, fill their bags with high-quality, nourishing meals and take them home, knowing that the service will continue at least until their exams in June.

“It takes away the stress of wondering where the next meal is going to come from.”

“Many of my fellow international students have gone home because they have lost their jobs or do not have the financial help from their parents. I am lucky that I can still be here, but it’s challenging.”

This new delivery of ready-made meals for international students is being arranged by two organisations – Brisbane Marketing’s Study Brisbane and Study Sunshine Coast – and cooked by FareShare using fresh ingredients donated by Woolworths and Foodbank Queensland.

Students wanting meals can collect them from the USC Student Guild Welfare and Advocacy Office (near carparks 4 and 5) between 10am and midday Monday to Friday and must present their student IDs. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.

Last week, USC also provided more than 1,360 of its students with emergency bursaries of up to $1,000 each to offset some of the difficulties they’ve faced during the coronavirus lockdown, totalling almost $1.1 million.