Something that seems like an age-old issue is college students having food insecurity. This means not having access to enough affordable, nutritious food. Joy Ferrin, school pantry coordinator with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, told CNHI Oklahoma that 48 percent of college students nationwide experience some level of food insecurity.
This kind of issue has led colleges to provide food pantries for their students, as some can’t afford meal plans or to eat regularly at campus dining locations. Oklahoma State University has a $50,000 a year agreement with Our Daily Bread, a food resource center in Stillwater. This helps provide awareness and access to college students along with faculty who are doing research. With OSU specifically, the issue isn’t a lack of dining options, but rather that not every student can afford to pay for an OSU meal plan to regularly dine on campus.
These food pantry programs are great to help support college students in other ways besides academic resources. Students who aren’t eating on a regular basis can struggle academically, so colleges making it a point to provide for students who need the help is a great way to support college students.
Greg Raskin, a spokesman with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, told CNHI that as awareness of hunger on college campuses grows, he hopes the campus pantries help more students stay in class and not focused on a hunger battle.
We are grateful to the institutions that have these food pantry partnerships, and grateful to the many volunteers and contributors to Our Daily Bread.
We know there is always more we can do to help. We liked OSU’s VP Joe Weaver’s suggestion that officials are considering a mobile food pantry. We think it’s worth a shot. Go ahead and roll it out. If it doesn’t work, discontinue it. There might be apprehension of how many would use it, but we’ve learned that transportation is often a major hurdle for the food insecure. Try it out, OSU. Let’s see what happens.