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15th Feb 2018

If you’ve ever been a broke and hungry student, you’ll appreciate what’s happening in Kerry

Michael Lanigan

They’re looking for more colleges to climb on board.

A college in Kerry has started running a food bank where students can help out other students in need.

The ‘Take It Or Leave It’ initiative has encouraged students at Kerry College of Further Education to leave any unwanted non-perishable foods on a shelf inside the college’s main entrance. Then, any student who needs food can take it away.

Speaking to JOE, KCFE Principal Mary Lucey explains: “It started just after Christmas, when we were having a drive, asking people to donate for Saint Vincent de Paul.

“What we realised was that some students were struggling financially coming back to education. They had part time jobs, and so we decided to continue this initiative, and so we rebranded as ‘Take It Or Leave It’.

“The idea is that some weeks, you have extra food and leave that on the shelf for those who are more in need. It’s an open and inclusive initiative in a public place, with the idea being that there’s no stigma attached to it. We want to make sure our students are well fed at all times.”

She went on to say that the success of the initiative has made her confident to encourage other colleges and educational institutes to come on board.

“It’s something we’d like to see, if other universities or colleges would collaborate with us. Everyone is talking about students and their financial struggles right now. This is a good way to help address that. It’s practical, easy to set up and operate, and it’s been extremely successful so far.”

The Clash Townland college has previously set up the ‘KCFE Make Cents’ initiative, which is a collaboration with local businesses and sees students receive a 5% or 10% discount on various goods and services.

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