Student-Powered Hunger Relief

Monthly Archives: August 2016

Apply Today to be a VISTA

, August 24th, 2016

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CKP is hiring! If you’re passionate about ending hunger and food waste, eliminating food deserts, or any other food/hunger-related issue, we’ve got jobs for you! In partnership with Hunger Free America’s Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps, we are recruiting 8 AmeriCorps VISTA positions at the following Campus Kitchen locations:

Baldwin Wallace University – Berea, Ohio

Baylor University – Waco, Texas

Gettysburg College – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Lee University – Cleveland, Tennessee

Minnesota State University, Mankato – Mankato, Minnesota

Troy University – Troy, Alabama

University of Kentucky – Lexingon, Kentucky

Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, Virginia

Please email Laura Toscano at  ltoscano@campuskitchens.org if you are interested in applying. Please include which location you are interested in. Applications are due by September 1st.

Studying on an Empty Stomach

, August 10th, 2016

New Reports Indicate High Levels of Food Insecurity on College Campuses

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For four in ten students in the University of California system, the question of where their next meal is coming from often surpasses what test they will be studying for that night. New data from a historic survey of University of California (UC) students brings light to an issue that often goes under reported in food security circles – hunger on college campus. This is the largest survey ever conducted on food insecurity on college campus, with nearly 9,000 students surveyed. The results show that access to sufficient nutritious food is not always a guarantee, with 19% of respondents reporting that they went hungry at some point. An additional 23% of students said they could afford to eat, but lacked access or resources to balanced and nutritious meals.

How can any student be expected to focus on their studies when they are questioning where their next meal will come from? Hunger leads to many negative outcomes, especially for students who need to focus on their school work in order to succeed. Food insecurity can affect a student’s ability to focus, in turn impairing academic performance. Hunger can also lead to obesity, anxiety, and even depression. Furthermore, common anti-hunger resources, like SNAP, become unavailable to full time students, as qualification requirements stipulate that a recipient must actively be looking for employment.

All of these maladies can have severe and long lasting implications on an individual’s health, not to mention the effect they could have on grades – diminishing their chances of academic success. According to the survey results, nearly half of undergraduates in the University of California system reported having problems with food at some time. A third of those people indicated that their academic success had been impacted by that hunger. Furthermore, GPA’s for those who experienced problems with food were lower than their counterparts who don’t worry about food. Clearly, future success is being curtailed by food insecurity.

Fortunately, since the conclusion of the study, the UC system has made strides to address on campus hunger. Each UC school has been given roughly $75,000 to develop programs to combat food insecurity. Several schools have created food pantries dedicated to serving students, while others have instituted programs allowing meal swipes to be transferred to those in need. UC Berkeley has started an innovative program to teach students how to cook healthy meals on a tight budget. In addition, the school has been developing “mobile kitchens” to increase access for those living in dorms where cooking space can be hard to come by. UCLA is working with local farms to sell unused produce to students at reduced cost.

These programs from the UC system are commendable, but further support for these students is needed. Universities are often times regarded as bastions of wealth and success, but it is important to remember that there are many students across the nation who are experiencing this kind of hardship, not just those in California. While philanthropies and activists seek to address hunger in children, adults, and seniors, it would be wise not to forget that there are other populations that may be in need.

If you are interested in starting a Campus Kitchen at a UC school, click here to get started.

The full report can be found here, and offers resourceful information for any college student or administrator concerned with food security on campus.

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