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Sunday December 05, 2021
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Feeding the Starving Student



He sees a couple different factors driving the growth. "One is the recognition that [student food insecurity] exists. Sixty percent of grad students have families of their own with no support from home, are trying to make it on fellowships and grants, and are often not allowed to work outside their field. Post-secondary, nontraditional students--those who are working and returning to school--struggle to balance their studies, food, and home life.

"Another factor is the rising overall cost of tuition, future debt, textbooks, etc. And while some students do work and the economy has improved, there are a number of them struggling to survive on stagnant wages. There's not been a comprehensive study, but there are a lot of hard estimates and some extrapolations about on-campus food insecurity."

Feeding America, the nonprofit nationwide network of food banks, included college students for the first time in Hunger in America 2014, its quadrennial report on people seeking food assistance. Among households served by Food Gatherers, the report says, "28 percent of households report choosing between paying for food and paying for school loans, tuition, or other educational expenses at least once in the past twelve months; 13 percent face this choice every month ... 7,600 full-time and 1,200 part-time college students were among the 44,500 clients served by Food Gatherers."

"Food Gatherers partners with three student food pantries in Washtenaw County," emails Markell Miller, the group's manager of community food programs. "All programs get rescued and donated food at no cost."

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