Campus Food Pantries Become a Vital Resource for College Students Struggling with Food Insecurity

Credits: The Globe

The issue of food insecurity among college students in the United States is a growing concern, with as many as one out of every three college students dealing with it, according to Temple University’s The Hope Center. The University of California, Davis, is one example where students line up daily at the on-campus food pantry to address their basic needs.

High rent costs and the overall expensive nature of living contribute to the challenges faced by students. Erin Cashin, a senior at UC Davis, shared her experience, mentioning that she structures her class schedules around being able to access the food pantry.

The on-campus food pantry is operated by students, many of whom previously received assistance from it. The rising cost of living is highlighted by Leslie Kemp, the director of UC Davis’ Basic Needs Center, who emphasizes the importance of providing fresh produce, some of which comes from the student farm and is donated to the pantry.

Food Pantries (Credits: The Advocate)

The increase in the number of food pantries on college campuses across the country, now close to 800, is a testament to the widespread nature of the issue.

UC Davis was one of the pioneers in addressing this problem, opening its pantry to support students. Initially located in a basement, it has been relocated to the heart of the campus to reduce the stigma associated with seeking assistance.

The pantry is open to anyone with a student ID, emphasizing inclusivity and providing support without asking questions about financial need.

While the pantry is not intended for those with meal plans or students who can afford groceries, it serves as a crucial resource for those facing food insecurity.

The impact of such support extends beyond immediate nutritional needs, as students like Erin Cashin stress the positive effect it has on their academic performance and mental health.

Cashin also highlights the importance of maintaining a sense of community and reciprocity by taking only what is needed and leaving some for the next person in line.

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