University of Canberra: UC commemorates the Multicultural Association of Canberra’s contributions to helping international students through the COVID-19 pandemic

The University of Canberra has formally thanked the Multicultural Association of Canberra (MAC) and the Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) for helping to support the University’s international student cohort throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Food Pantry has been providing free fresh food and non-perishable items for students since the beginning of 2020, but became an important lifeline for all students, and in particular international students, throughout the pandemic.

MAC and GOPIO reached out to the UCX Food Pantry when the first COVID-19 lockdown hit, and since then have continued to donate staple food items and specific ingredients for international students, as well as providing ready-made meals.

“The funding from our community ensures we can help Canberra students through initiatives like the UC Food Pantry,” said President of MAC, Nishi Puri.

“Our aim is to continue to make a difference in the lives of international students when they come to Canberra. Our contribution and every contribution people make, does make a big difference in people’s lives.”

The University presented Ms Puri and members of the MAC and GOPIO communities with a plaque that will be proudly displayed in the Food Pantry.

“Being presented with this plaque is a big honour for us and we’re thankful to the University for recognising our efforts,” said Ms Puri.

“This is a big motivation for us to keep going.”

Director of UCX, Sarah Jennett said since the Food Pantry opened, they have had over 15,000 visits by more than 1,500 students.

“We are fortunate to have MAC and GOPIO partnering with us to provide food and other supplies to distribute to our students and we thank them for our ongoing relationship and ability to continue to provide support for our students that we know are still in need,” said Ms Jennett.

International student Thanh Trung arrived in Canberra just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and is thankful for the support of the service.

“The Food Pantry has helped me buy food items every week without having to leave the campus, which was very helpful during the lockdowns,” said Mr Trung.

“It has also meant that I have been able to save money while studying which has been a big help.”

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