Logo - CHF Canada

2024 Award for Co-operative Achievement: Neill-Wycik Co-operative College

Published June 18, 2024

Congratulations to Neill-Wycik Co-operative College, the recipient of CHF Canada’s 2024 Award for Co-operative Achievement.

Watch a video profiling their story.

Neill-Wycik Co-operative College is a student housing co-operative in downtown Toronto, home to almost 750 members. In 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the co-op saw a need to alleviate student food insecurity. They introduced a Community Food Pantry program, which has grown rapidly since 2022, becoming one of the most popular and dependable staples within the Neill-Wycik community.

In February 2023, when the co-op officially ran out of grant funding, they ran a campaign to introduce new housing fees at the General Members Meeting to continue the Pantry program long-term. Membership overwhelmingly voted in favour of introducing a $5 per month per member fee to keep the Pantry running, which came into effect in June 2023.

As members of the co-op shared, “The Pantry has truly become a hub of our community here. Members come to meet others, play an active part in their community, and feel secure in the knowledge that they have reliable access to nutritious food. Choosing to make financial sacrifices for a higher education should not mean risking one’s access to food, nor their access to community. I’m proud to say we have provided a safe space to talk with members about how to cook on their own for the first time, swapped personal recipes, educated about how we as a co-op function, and have consequently been able to introduce members to opportunities to become engaged in their community. As much as our Pantry is about access to food, it has also grown to include access to social and mental wellbeing.”

Neill-Wycik Co-operative College plans to put the $2500 award prize towards renovating their kitchen storage space to better serve their members.

Congratulations to Neill-Wycik Co-operative College for leading a Community Food Pantry to increase student food security, fostering community and belonging, and demonstrating the power of showing up for one another.

Don't miss out on the latest co-op news, success stories, and helpful resources for your co-op. Sign up here to receive our eNews every two weeks straight to your inbox!