Dec 07, 2016 11:32 AM EST
Food Insecurity: The Hunger Problem In Campuses
Aside from the overwhelming cost of college tuition, students are also facing another issue that may prove to be detrimental to their health: food insecurity. Food insecurity is the feeling of not knowing where one's next meal will come from as well as the lack of access to inexpensive, healthy food.
CNN reported that Montclair State University's food pantry opened in April and is helping students. The pantry was created after administrators found out that some students did not have enough money for food.
Recently, 33 students visited the food pantry. They were able to leave with bread, cereal, milk, spaghetti, canned vegetables and even personal toiletries like shampoo and soap.
"Even if you don't hear about hunger being a problem, there's probably a population on campus in need," Megan Breitenbach, a student who volunteers at Montclair State's pantry, said.
The publication noted that there has been an increase in the number of food pantries on college campuses. Membership in the College and University Food Bank Alliance has increased by four times the past two years with currently 398 members.
"Do I think there's always been a need?" Fatima deCarvalho, the Associate Dean of Students at Montclair State, said. "I would say yes. But students are being more vocal about it."
A report by Students Against Hunger revealed that 48 percent of over 3,000 students have experienced food insecurity in the past 30 days. The participants came from a mix of 34 community and four-year colleges.
This means that hunger has become a more common problem among college students than the U.S. population as a whole. Only 14 percent of households experience food insecurity each year as per government data.
56 percent of students who experience food insecurity were currently employed. Moreover, more than half received federal grant while 18 percent received a private scholarship.
"A majority of students who are food insecure were also working and receiving financial aid," Clare Cady, an author of the report and co-founder of CUFBA, said. "We're talking about students who are doing all the things we'd expect them to do and they're still not able to support themselves while in school."
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