Colleges, universities opening their own food pantries
Faced with the after effects of the economic downturn, along with the rising cost of tuition, more college students are going hungry.
In response, college campuses across the U.S. have opened their own food pantries on site to keep students healthy and focused.
The Center for Food Action launched a site inside the Bergen Community College student center in June. Site manager Liza Pitz said the move was prompted by a pattern of students visiting the school's wellness center, feeling faint and light-headed.
"The need was recognized to be great enough that there needed to be a more formal pantry established on campus," Pitz said.
The pantry accepts appointments and referrals, as well as walk-ins. Students can show up once a month for food, and they're provided enough to feed their household for three to four days.
"A lot of students here are working and are full-time students here, and they're struggling to pay their bills and also to complete their education," Pitz said. "The average age of a student at Bergen Community College is actually 24 years old, so we have quite a few students who are heads of the household, who are parents raising children."
According to the College and University Food Bank Alliance, food insecurity has been a growing issue on campuses in the U.S. and can be a barrier to student success.
The College Board found tuition and fees at a public two-year institution in New Jersey rose from $2,802 to $4,434 since 2004-2005. Costs for a public four-year school jumped from $7,979 to $13,002.