Food for Thought – Some Students Need Help

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No Student Hungry, Food for All!

Much like the young students featured in the national campaign, No Kid Hungry®, there are many students at colleges throughout the United States that are barely getting by. That’s likely a percentage that’s going to go up before it comes down. Some of these students are forced to put their daily bread in line behind paying for college and all of its expenses: tuition, books, rent, and utilities among them. The USDA average monthly cost of food for a college-age student on a recommended, moderate-cost food plan was $223.55 in 2018.

According to Education Data, in 2018:

  • Nearly 25% of high school students considered middle class indicated they were not planning to attend college because of the expense
  • In 2018, an average of 45% of students experienced frequent food insecurity
  • Over 50% of students from 2-year institutions and 44% of 4-year students worried about running out of food
  • Nearly 50% of students could not afford balanced meals

Even with work and secured loans, many students who are struggling financially often feel uncomfortable discussing their circumstances. They play off not being able to afford enough food, much less maintain a healthy, balanced diet. As a college student who relied on school loans, I had often made light of this, kidding about my college meal staple of ramen noodles. But that kidding attitude fell by the wayside after raising my children and teaching them the importance of a healthy diet. When you know the impact that a healthy diet has on one’s quality of sleep, ability to manage stress, capacity to be strong mentally and physically, and overall well-being, it ceases to become a joking matter.

Field and Fork Pantry

Fortunately, many universities today recognize this problem and understand student food insecurity. That relatively new terminology basically refers to the scenario of students not having access to nutritious food on a regular basis. One of the ways many campuses have addressed student food insecurity is by establishing Food Pantries.

At UF, we have the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field and Fork Pantry. The Pantry offers non-perishable food, toiletries, and fresh vegetables grown in their gardens. No pantry shopper is ever asked to verify their income or need, and Fork and Field Pantry understands that some people who use the pantry have a chronic need for food while others only a temporary need. If you know of a student that needs this resource, you should absolutely share this information. The Pantry is very discreet about respecting the privacy of those in need of their service.

The Pantry is located on Reitz Lawn across from the Hub and east of McCarty Hall A.

Summer A 2020 Pantry hours are:

  • Monday: 10AM – 2PM
  • Tuesday: 2PM – 6PM
  • Wednesday: 10AM – 2PM
  • Thursday: 10AM – 2PM
  • Friday: 10AM – 2PM

Summer Break Week 2020: June 22 — July 4

If you are more fortunate than others, the Field and Fork Pantry accepts donations, both monetary and in kind. You can even volunteer at the Pantry, helping mostly to label, sort, and stock donated food items and toiletry products.

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2020-07-01T15:13:46-04:000 Comments

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