California university creates food pantry for struggling students

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student food pantry
[image credit: Cal Poly SLO]

Hungry students are reluctant to use traditional food banks

As the cost of higher education climbs into the stratosphere, many students may have difficulties paying for food. While there are food pantries in many U.S. cities, students may not realize that they are eligible for assistance, or may be reluctant or too self-conscious to take advantage of these resources.

Solution: Open a discrete food pantry on campus

Theresa Fagouri, a health educator at the university, decided to create the food bank when she saw students struggling to afford food and basic supplies after paying for tuition and books. The pantry is located in the university’s Health and Wellness Building, and is attached to the peer counseling center. Students who visit for mentoring or checkups are assessed for food or financial insecurity and referred to the food pantry. In addition to food staples, the pantry contains shampoo, toothpaste, and other items.

“I think college students might hint at it, but never outright say, ‘I don’t have enough money to buy groceries,’” said Ashley Jones, a June graduate of Cal Poly who works on campus through AmeriCorps.

Get Involved

  • Share this idea with your university administrators, and invite them to open a food pantry for hungry students.
  • If you are a student, let your peers know that there are resources available for them if they can’t afford to buy food.

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Category: Hunger

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Article by: Dave

Dave Cannon is a Seattle-based entrepreneur and consultant to nonprofits and small businesses. He loves Thai food and takes terrible photographs. You can follow him on Linkedin.
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