SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–It’s not usually talked about because of embarrassment, but many students on college campuses are going hungry.
According to a survey mentioned in the Washington Post, 36% of students surveyed at 66 colleges and universities don’t get enough to eat.
It’s an issue mostly affecting students at Missouri State University who live off campus primarily because they simply can’t afford groceries on top of all of their other expenses.
“We’ve got onions and actually that’s garlic there and then we’ve got some green onions over there, all of our salad crops are undercover there,” says Missouri State graduate student, Cady Goble.
Goble is in one of her favorite places, doing one of her favorite things-taking care of the campus community garden. The food grown will contribute towards feeding students.
“We try to have a really good variety and we try and grow things that maybe the food pantry doesn’t get from other people who donate fresh food so that’s been a really big effort over the last year and I think we’ve donated around 600 pounds just from this space,” says Goble.
From the garden to the Well of Life Pantry-it’s the next stop for the food.
“Students can actually take the Bear Shuttle to get to that resource and so it’s a really convenient way for them to access healthy food,” says Alex Johnson, MSU Director of Community Involvement and Service.
Johnson knows there’s a stigma with utilizing the food pantry so the exact number of students who use it is unknown.
“There can be some type of misconception that students are not spending their money wisely, but a lot of times students are facing hunger and homelessness because of the lack of support they might have in other places and so they really have that difficult decision between buying food or buying something they need for their education,” says Johnson.
“I did experience sometimes where food was something that I kind of had to sacrifice especially healthful, fresh food like we grow in the gardens so I definitely have been there and if I had known that there was resources like the Well of Life Pantry available to me, it would have definitely helped me,” says Goble.
Students are able to use the pantry eight times per year and get 15 to 20 pounds of food each time.