Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

December 25, 2012

Student food banks fight hunger on campus

COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri junior Simone McGautha works three campus jobs and has accumulated $11,000 in student loans as she seeks to become the first in her family with a college degree. So when McGautha learned about a new campus food pantry for needy students, the 19-year-old was happy to have the help.

“I use every bit of money I have for basic needs,” the Kansas City native said. “I don’t have family putting money in my bank account. If somebody wants to help, why not?”

The student-run Tiger Pantry is among a growing number of programs at university campuses. Organizers say it’s both a response to a weak economy and a sign of the latest trend in student activism.

The pantry, which opened in early October, is within easy walking distance of the University of Missouri’s campus in Columbia. It has given free food to nearly 150 people and their families, and an additional 100 people have expressed an interest. Food recipients include nearly three dozen graduate students and a similar number of university employees, as well as a handful of professors.

Student organizers modeled the program on a similar effort at the University of Arkansas known as the Full Circle Food Pantry. As a sanctioned organization, the Tiger Pantry receives some money from student fees but primarily relies on donated food. Students can drop off donations in large bins around campus, and the local food pantry provided 2,500 pounds of food to help the Tiger Pantry get started.

The University of Mississippi and Auburn University are also starting campus food pantries, joining schools such as Central Florida, Georgia, Iowa State, Oregon State and West Virginia. The University of California Los Angeles deploys “economic crisis response” teams that assist students struggling to pay bills and rent or who live on the streets.

Campus organizers estimate at least 20 schools have similar programs, with even more interested in joining the effort.

At the Tiger Pantry, users are limited to monthly visits, and the amount of their bounty depends on family size. But they don’t have to prove that they’re struggling financially.

The Auburn food pantry is part of a broader anti-hunger campaign that includes an international hunger research institute that is a collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme, an international hunger research institute. A student-driven “War on Hunger” campaign launched in 2004 has spread to more than 200 universities worldwide, the school says.

“It’s a moral imperative of a land-grant institution to improve the quality of life,” said Harriett Giles, the hunger institute’s managing director. “That’s our mission.”

Precise statistics measuring the extent of student and staff hunger are elusive, Giles and other supporters of such efforts acknowledge. Campus administrators also are cautious that the food bank projects embraced by a current crop of do-gooders don’t become dormant if the next generation of student leaders fails to share those passions.

“The university wants us to prove the need of the pantry first,” said Missouri’s food bank director Paul Haluszczak, a St. Peters junior.

Peggy Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, said more people are using food pantries generally. She said her regional group serves nearly 13,000 people each month, compared with fewer than 8,000 just four years ago — a 63 percent increase.

Kilpatrick was among the early skeptics of the student effort, though now she’s an ally, with the regional group providing help to the Tiger Pantry

“I didn’t want it to be a novelty, then when these students graduate, who carries it on?” she said. “I was putting up roadblocks, making sure it was legit.”

Kaitlyn Kelly, a senior animal science major from Blue Springs, has used the Tiger Pantry from the start. So does her boyfriend. Kelly has cashed childhood savings bonds and other investments to help pay for college. She also has wheat allergies, making her food choices more difficult and more costly.

“I can’t just go out and buy a box of ramen noodles,” she said. “Eating for me is pretty hard, and expensive.”

Kelly said she isn’t ashamed or embarrassed about seeking help, but she realizes some of her peers might consider relying on the pantry a stigma. That’s why the Tiger Pantry, like its counterparts on other campuses, is located off-the-beaten track and provides its groceries in generic, unlabeled shopping bags.

“I need help. So I’m not going to refuse it,” she said. “There are plenty of students who could use this. This whole program is a godsend.”

1
Text Only
National, International News
  • Dollar Tree-Family Do_Rich copy.jpg Dollar Tree buys Family Dollar

    The fight for penny pinchers is intensifying.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Mideast Israe_Rich copy.jpg Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges

    Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite going back and forth over proposals for a temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting ahead of a major Muslim holiday.
    The failure to reach even a brief humanitarian lull in the fighting illustrated the difficulties in securing a more permanent truce as the sides remain far apart on their terms.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP81072904918 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP4507280123 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, July 28, 2014
    Today is Monday, July 28, the 209th day of 2014. There are 156 days left in the year. 
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tentative deal reached on VA reform

    The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees have reached a tentative agreement on a plan to fix a veterans’ health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

    July 27, 2014

  • United States-Libya_Rich.jpg US evacuates embassy in Libya amid clashes

    The United States shuttered its embassy in Libya on Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort as fighting intensified between rival militias. Secretary of State John Kerry said “free-wheeling militia violence” prompted the move.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP9607270692 copy.jpg Today in History for Sunday, July 27, 2014

    Today is Sunday, July 27, the 208th day of 2014. There are 157 days left in the year.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • No ticket for Shrek over loud musical, chief says

    A musical being performed in a New Hampshire park has drawn some noise complaints, but the deputy police chief says he’s “not giving Shrek a ticket.”

    July 26, 2014

  • Arizona Execution Dru_Rich copy.jpg Arizona’s McCain: Execution was torture

    U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ukraine Plane_Rich copy.jpg US: Russia firing into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.
    Russia accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results