College Students Face Hunger, Turn to Free Food
Food banks are for the homeless and out-of-work, right? Contrarily, college students are also turning to food banks to find their next meal.
The rising costs of tuition, housing and textbooks are making it hard for some students to find the extra money for food. Colleges are opening up on-campus food banks, so students don’t have to go to class on an empty stomach.
“We’re here to help students who have to decide between buying textbooks or buying food,” said Laura Pick, coordinator of Oregon State University emergency food pantry.
While in grade school, children have the option of receiving free or reduced-price lunches with the federally-assisted National School Lunch Program. However, once students get to college, they no longer receive this kind of food aid, Pick said.
“Food Pantries on college campuses are unique because they seek an underserved population of students that many people may not be aware is struggling,” she said. “I think more colleges are recognizing that hunger is an issue for students and trying to combat it.”
In addition to Oregon State, the University of California-Los Angeles also opened up a food pantry. UCLA student, Abdallah Jadallah, started a food bank at his school by turning a forgotten storage closet into a place where students can get free meals.
While on-campus food banks are becoming more popular, Pick said that every school should have one. College students are often afraid to ask for help, and universities should provide free food, so students don’t have to ask for help.
“It takes a great deal of courage for an individual to admit that they are food insecure and then seek aid,” she said.
Via Food Safety News