Rider joins a growing number of higher education institutions that are starting on-campus food pantries for needy students.

"A number of staff and faculty members noticed that there were students on campus that fell into this category of being food insecure,"  said Dana Lopes, assistant director of student support services.

The food pantry opened at Rider earlier this week. Lopes says students will be able to pick up non-perishable food items such as cereal and mac and cheese — no questions asked.

"We are also working with some outside companies to see if they will be part of this initiative," she said.

According to a press release from the university, there are more than 570 higher education institutions that have created food pantries throughout the U.S. in an effort to end college hunger and food insecurity.

A survey done by the group Hunger on Campus in 2016 found that 48 percent of college students on campus are food insecure, meaning they sometimes go hungry. And another study by the Student Center, College & University Food Bank Alliance puts the number at one in five students.

Lopes said that in less than a week six students have used the food pantry.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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