Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Rachel Breslin, is launching a ‘Food Box’ initiative, which she will be introducing after the mid-term break, reports Katie Hughes.
Students will pay €10 at the beginning of the week and in return receive a box of food containing four portions of meat, four recipes and vegetables for each day.
The idea was proposed after the release of a set of EU statistics, which suggested that the nutritional value of students’ diets was suffering, was brought before the Health Promotions Committee Meeting.
Breslin explained that “students’ income had fallen so much, their disposable income, in particular, was so low that they were choosing to spend their money on other things other than food … food was one of the areas that was suffering the most and because junk food is often cheaper, particularly now in the mass produced days … the nutritional values of their diets was suffering a lot.”
M&K Meats will be supplying the produce, “the veg will be pre-prepared, so chopped potatoes or chopped carrots but all completely fresh, the meat is vacuum packed, but all completely fresh stuff, we’re getting it directly from a meat and veg supplier.”
L’Ecrivan chef and co-owner, Derry Clarke, will be penning the recipes found alongside the ingredients. Six different sets of food baskets will be on rotation during the year, with ingredients, their preparation, and recipes being altered according to student feedback.
While students will pay €10 per week for the box, any profit made from the scheme will be allocated to the Welfare Fund. Breslin explains that different baskets will have a different cost price, “fish is more expensive … it is planned that all the profits will go to the Welfare Fund but we don’t have exact figures.”
She concludes by saying that the scheme is not intended to generate revenue for the SU, but rather as a scheme to aid students. “We’re really looking at what students want, it’s not something we set up to make a profit – it’s just to help students who are struggling to afford healthy meals. We also have students who don’t know how to cook them, so it’s sort of ticking two boxes with one scheme and we’ll take student direction completely on board.”
Breslin welcomes name suggestions for the initiative, as it currently does not have one.