Food for Thought

haveuheard food umd

No Student Hungry, Food for All

Much like the national campaign No Kid Hungry®, there are many students at colleges throughout the United States that are barely getting by, some putting their nourishment behind paying for college and all of the expenses that go along with college; tuition, books, rent, utilities, to name a few. The USDA average monthly cost of food for a college-age student for a moderate-cost food plan, following the recommended Food plans, is $223.55.

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

Many students who are struggling just to keep up with the cost of college even while working and getting loans, often feel uncomfortable saying anything about struggling to maintain a balanced diet. As a college student who relied on school loans, I would often make light of this, kidding around and saying my meals consisted of ramen noodles. But knowing the importance of a healthy diet plays on one’s health, sleep patterns, stress, capacity to think, and be strong mentally and physically, it is not a joking manner. And students should not have to make a choice between buying textbooks and buying groceries. At most universities, it is referred to as food insecurity; basically, referring to students not having access to nutritious groceries on a regular basis.

The Pantry

Fortunately, many campuses today recognize this problem and have addressed it by having Food Pantries. At the University of Maryland, we have the UMD Campus Pantry. The Campus Pantry is dedicated to alleviating food insecurity among UMD students, faculty, and staff by providing emergency food. The Campus Pantry is located in the South Campus Dining Hall at the building loading dock-7093 Preinkert Drive Campus Drive College Park, MD 20742. When you go, be sure to bring your UMD-ID and a reusable bag. Be sure to check their website for the hours they are open, as they change from time to time.

The UMD Campus Pantry is always looking for both donations and volunteers who are looking to help. Those who are interested in donating can both drop off items or donate online. If you are looking to drop off donations contact campuspantry@umd.edu or call 301-314-8054. The items that are most needed are non-perishable items such as canned fish or poultry, canned vegetables, dry pasta or rice, canned beans, and other similar items.

For those that are interested in volunteering, there are several options. One great option is to host a food drive. Organizing food drives in residence halls, clubs, organizations, or other places on or around campus is a great way to help those in need in our UMD community. Here is a flyer that can be used for your food drive. Another way to get involved with the UMD Campus Pantry is to directly volunteer with the pantry. The Pantry is partnered with Terps For Change for volunteer opportunities. This club has a program where, for a whole semester, students have the opportunity to volunteer at the pantry coupled with eight weekly dialogues where students reflect and explore the social issues related to the service.

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2020-07-01T14:59:04-04:000 Comments

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