Since 2017, the Food Bank has been partnering with local colleges to make sure students can worry more about exams than when they will eat again.
“I am able to get healthy food for me and my daughter while on campus which has really helped.” -College Pantry Participant
Although many people look back at their days of being a “poor college student” living on ramen noodles as some sort of rite of passage, hunger on college campuses today is a real problem affecting students from all walks of life.
Almost half of local college students struggle to afford food due to the increasing costs of housing, tuition, and books.
Though their ages span decades, all college students have the common desire to get a proper education and hunger should not get in their way. Some of these students are single parents, some are the first ones in their families to pursue higher education, and some are struggling to balance going to school with working a full-time job.
We hear their stories daily. David, who is now in his late 20’s, explained what it felt like to experience true hunger while he attended college, “To know that you can’t get that basic need of food met, which is a must-have for survival, was frightening.”
Another story we recently heard came from a young volunteer who was inspired to help at the Food Bank after what he saw his friend go through in college. His friend could no longer afford his apartment and he ended up living in his car for a while. “He wasn’t eating healthy and since he didn’t have access to a kitchen, he couldn’t cook. He wasn’t eating three meals a day, more like once a day and he ate as cheaply as possible. He became irritable and way more stressed.”
To combat this growing problem, the Food Bank partners with six local colleges through our College Pantry Program. Each college pantry operates with the help of a staff member and many student volunteers. Most pantries are open 5-days a week and enrolled students can pick up free nutritious groceries and ready-to-eat snacks at these mini-markets.
One student attending CSU East Bay shared with us, “I’m able to study more and worry less about what I’m going to eat.” This sentiment was the consensus when we recently surveyed junior college and 4-year university students participating in our college pantry programs. In fact, 97% reported being more focused in class since using their pantry.
When students have the necessary tools to succeed, such as proper nutrition, our entire community benefits. The College Pantry Program changes lives for those who are pursuing their education today, so they can better provide for themselves and their families tomorrow. We thank you for your support, because we simply couldn’t make this impact on our community without you.
YOUR GIFT TO END COLLEGE HUNGER WILL BE MATCHED
Right now you have the power to help college students focus on studying instead of worrying about being hungry. Give now to have your gift matched, dollar for dollar by John Muir Community Health Fund. Visit foodbankccs.org/collegematch to have your gift matched!