No Student Goes Hungry
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 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 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.
Campuses today recognize this problem. At most universities, it is referred to as food insecurity; basically, referring to students not having access to nutrition on a regular basis. UNF’s Brooks College of Health developed the Center for Nutrition and Food Service in 2017. Their mission is to bring students, faculty and community organizations together in a coordinated and sustained effort that finds solutions and eliminates barriers in order to improve access and nutritional health in the local and global community.
Amongst other key initiatives, they have the Food Fighters, a student-driven hunger relief club that recovers food that would be wasted and packages the retrievals into nutritious meals that are delivered to non-profit organizations in the community that support food, insecure individuals. UNF does not have an on-campus pantry but there are several food pantries that are near campus. Mandarin Food Bank, Feeding Northeast Florida, Daily Manna Service Center.
If you know of a student that needs this resource, you should absolutely share this information. They are very discreet about respecting the privacy of those that are in need, whether temporarily or long-term.
List of more pantries, here.
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