This trio of podcasts are the penultimate ones for this season’s team — a fancy way of saying the second-to-last ones; the podcasts themselves, though are full of straightforward, down-to-earth stories.

Podcast 1:  Our first one, hosted by Samantha Campling and Raylene Lung, opens with a look by Midweek’s Jennifer Prescott at complaints by the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students that the latest provincial budget shortchanges post-secondary students.

Our reporter Natasha Bulowski then shows us how Ottawa-based mutual aid organizations are struggling to meet the increased needs of the poor and poorly housed in Canada’s capital city.

Sam Campling’s story this week is about rising grocery prices — but those increases aren’t just due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sam speaks with a professor in University of Saskatchewan’s department of agriculture and resource economics about the bigger picture of why this is happening.

And we close with a reminder that there are those around us all the time facing struggles most of us never realize — like vets. Midweek’s Raylene Lung shows us the emotional stresses veterinarians face as they deal with animals they can’t save, owners with unrealistic demands, quibbles about costs, and lack of respect for them as professionals.

This podcast was produced by Emilie Warren.

Podcast 2:  Midweek’s Zakaria Mian has been working the business beat this season, and this week he takes us to meet the owner of a pastry shop in Orleans to hear how he’s been keeping this quite essential service afloat during the pandemic.

Ciaran Morgan then reports on how some hospitality workers in two parts of Ontario feel about being included in Phase 2 of the province’s vaccination rollout, and the differences it may make to the places where they work.

Reporter Avanthika Anand brings us insights from researcher Victoria Atabakhsh about how older adults are coping with high-tech ways of communicating as they try to fight the pandemic’s isolation.

And speaking of tech, Midweek’s Meaghan Haldenby tells us how TikTok’s automated algorithms tipped off one university student that she very well may have ADHD — and why this unexpected help may make a big difference in her life.

Meaghan and Ciaran hosted this podcast, which was produced by Erika Ibrahim and Hana Sabah.

Podcast 3:  Hosts Kayla Christoffer and Max Bakony opened this podcast with a trip to Parliament Hill by Midweek reporter Jeff Pelletier to meet protesters objecting to COVID restrictions.

They say these are harming their children’s mental health, and Jeff took those concerns to a family psychologist to get advice for how parents and children can better handle the ongoing pressures they now face.

Max Bakony met with two members of the Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team to get their take on sexism in their sport, especially in light of the stark differences that have been highlighted recently between how U.S. college basketball treats its top male and female teams.

Transportation into many isolated communities in Canada’s northern territories is difficult and expensive, and often food and other essential goods can reach their residents only by air. Midweek’s Sarah West spoke with pilot Dylan Neilson about the challenges and responsibilities of being part of the air bridge on which many of those in the North depend.

And while there’s nothing more essential than getting food to those who need it, feeding a community’s soul in hard times is also a responsibility those in the arts take seriously. Midweek’s Kayla Christoffer ends this podcast with a look at how two folks involved in small theatre companies are finding creative new ways to keep reaching audiences.

This podcast was produced by Eden Suh and Angelica Zagorski.