Survey: Many college students don't have enough to eat

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 3, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- It's near the end of the semester.

"My fridge goes empty for about a week or two. I have to find a way somehow to eat little things here and there to make ends meet," college junior Nicholas Smith said.

Smith is not alone.

A new survey says 36 percent of students on U.S. college campuses do not get enough to eat.

The study was done by researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. It says nearly one in ten community college students have gone a whole day without eating in the past month. It's six percent for university students.

FAMU student Patrick Lafaille said, "Sometimes I might not be able to eat. If the cafeteria is closed and I don't have any money to buy anything to eat."

Lafaille has learned to take advantage of FAMU's Farm Share program. Student Health Services distributes free food on campus once a week.

"Without this, I would be hungry right now," Lafaille said.

Tanya Tatum, the FAMU Director of Student Health Services, said, "I can remember when I was a poor graduate student, okay. The need's there. If we can do the little things that we can to make an effort to recognize that we have to meet more of their needs other than just say show up for class."

Researchers say the problem includes rising college costs, not enough aid and denial.

Jed Richardson with the Wisconsin HOPE Lab said, "People are often embarrassed to ask for help about this. We need to get to the point where we can normalize this and say, yes, there are a lot of people who need help. You might be one of them. Let's do that so we can help you complete college and not need this anymore."

The Farm Share distribution at FAMU is in front of the health services building every Tuesday at noon.

"This probable accounts $40 of food that I could buy. So, instead of putting down $40, I can put that toward something else, like some gas or to my bills. It makes a difference. All these small things make a big difference," Smith said while holding his bag of food from the distribution.

Tatum says about 10 to 15 students come to FAMU's pantry on a weekly basis to request food and personal items. The pantry is held inside of the health services office.

FSU has a number of programs to help address students’ needs when it comes to the issues of hunger and housing, including two food pantries.

Any student with valid FSU ID can visit the pantry and take as much food as they can carry as often as they need to. It is restocked daily and consists of nonperishable items, refrigerated and frozen ones, so students have a variety of food to choose from.

It’s open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition, the FSU Unconquered Scholars Program, a part of the Center for Academic Retention & Enhancement (CARE), provides assistance to disadvantaged students.

Tallahassee Community College also has a food pantry and assistance programs.

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