Community Issues

College Starts Food Pantry & Lounge To Help Fight Student Hunger

Now students can get the nutritious food they need, right on campus.


Food insecurity on college campuses is a big problem.

In a recent survey from the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice that included responses from almost 86,000 students at 123 colleges, more than 60% of students said they have experienced food insecurity within the past 30 days.

According to the survey, certain groups of students face a higher risk of becoming food insecure, including African American, LGBTQ students and students with prior criminal convictions.

Thankfully, more and more institutions are putting systems in place to help students in need.

This includes Bowie State University (BSU) in Maryland, where a new food pantry was recently opened in partnership with Capital Area Food bank and local grocery store chain, Food Lion.

Food Lion donated $10K to help BSU open the food pantry and lounge. @ABC7Kristen

The pantry is located on campus and allows students to shop for fresh produce and other organic groceries for free. Along with stocked shelves of nutritious food, the pantry offers a lounge area where students can hang out, study or snack on healthy food between classes.

By providing a casual, accessible area for students to get the food they need, the school is hoping to erase the shame that students can feel when they're food insecure.

@ABC7Kristen

"When we talked about this concept with Food Lion, we really wanted to breakdown the stigma of people feeling like they didn't want to come and get food because of the thought that there is something wrong with suffering from food insecurity," Brent Swinton, Bowie State Vice President for Institutional Advancement, said in a press release.

Food Lion donated $10,000 to the university to help get the pantry open.

Here's another story about fighting college food insecurity: Rocker Opens On-Campus Restaurant for Hungry Students

Here's how it works: students can visit the lounge, show their student ID and take the food they need from the shelves – a concept that might seem simple, but will do wonders to help students who don't have access to healthy food on a regular basis.

"A lot of students here at Bowie are in need," Sadiya, a senior at BSU, told WJLA-TV. "For students like myself, it's very convenient, especially when we're not able to go off campus and go to the store."

Students can grab when they need from the shelves - all for free. @ABC7Kristen

Swinton hopes the BSU initiative will inspire other schools to create their own nutrition lounges to help combat hunger on campus.

"That's a growing trend across the country and colleges are attacking that, and Bowie State University is at the cutting edge," Swinton said. "So, we want people to feel welcome, to come in and realize that this is all about making sure nutrition is available so our students can achieve in the classroom."

We like this story about a student who came up with a creative way to make a difference for hungry students on his campus: College Student Fights Food Insecurity

The BSU Food Pantry is located on the ground floor of the Thurgood Marshall Library and is open Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

What an awesome idea. Kudos to BSU for creating a welcoming place for students to get the food they need to succeed!

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