Posted March 1, 2011 by Elizabeth Stringer 

Food Pantries a Growing Trend on College Campuses

The issue of food pantries on college campuses has gained steam in recent months. College students may struggle with finances as paying tuition and rent in addition to purchasing books for classes could prove to be a financial hardship. And food is where students may sacrifice to pay for other needs. This hardship has only become worse with the economic recession. 

A recent CNN report stated that 1,500 college students in Sacramento County, Calif. depend on food stamps. And a Detroit News article reported that more than 20,000 college students in the state of Michigan use food stamps.

To help these students get by, some campuses are making the decision to create food pantries.

The SHOP, an acronym for Students Helping Our Peers, opened on Feb. 1 at Iowa State University. A new student organization was created to oversee the management of SHOP. Students need to show an ID card to obtain food, but a record of names are not kept.

In late January, Wright State University opened its first food pantry. The Friendship Food Pantry provides needy students with 48 hours of emergency meals, according to the university website. Additionally, students that are also parents may receive formula, diapers, and wipes.

The University of California–Davis opened a food pantry in January as well. A survey at the university found that 25 percent of students "somewhat to very often" skipped meals to save money, reported The Sacramento Bee. Students that use the pantry may take enough food for three meals during each visit.

These are just a few of the food pantries that opened in the last few months. And some food pantries on campuses have served student populations for several years, such as the Tri-C at Cuyahoga Community College and Michigan State University’s Student Food Bank.

Does your campus have a food pantry? What other ways does your campus attend to the needs of hungry students?


Elizabeth Stringer

Elizabeth Stringer is the Senior Manager of Marketing & Communication at ACUI.


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