Ashley Miller | |
According to the Oxford Dictionary, food insecurity is “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” Being food insecure affects students’ ability to learn, their physical and mental health and general well-being. The College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA) is an organization consisting of campus-based programs that focus on alleviating food insecurity, hunger and poverty among college and university students in the United States. As of June 27, 2017, there were 510 member institutions, some of which we donated to.
In a study, CUFBA, The National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, The Student Government Resource Center and The Student Public Interest Research Groups surveyed 3,765 students in 12 states attending 34 institutions, and found that: 48 percent of respondents reported food insecurity in the previous 30 days, 56 percent of food insecure students reported having a paying job, and of those employed students, 38 percent worked 20 hours or more per week.
There are many health problems associated with food insecurity, such as poor nutrition, chronic disease, weight loss, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes. On top of these physical side effects, there are many psychological issues that result due to food insecurity, including poor mental development, cognitive issues, behavioral problems (aggression) and poor mental health.
These facts and statistics really struck a chord with the Student Ambassadors, and we decided to do something about this growing problem. After we discussed the issue and its numerous negative effects on college students, we knew what we wanted to do about it. We would join the fight against food insecurity and host the first ever College Help pantry drive from July 10 – July 14. We did research and found a few area schools that had food pantries available to their students. College Help teamed up with the USLI community, the Goal 4 Challenge and Slainte Survivor to donate to these local university pantries.