Giving up food for an education

Defining what food insecurity is and look at ways to combat it.

Emilia Nolan, Reporter

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Concerns about food and food resources have become a central issue at Hamline. However, changes with the meal plans for on-campus students are not the only concerns for Hamline students. Food insecurity has become a main concern with campuses across the United States.

According to an article published by the Washington Post, “Thirty-six percent of students at sixty-six surveyed colleges and universities do not get enough to eat.”

Hamline University Student Congress (HUSC) conducted its own survey with Hamline students in 2017 on food insecurity. Of the nearly 360 students that responded to the survey, “Seventy percent noted that they could not afford to eat nutritionally balanced meals.” With the rising price of tuition nationwide and the declining number of jobs for people who lack a college degree, food insecurity has become increasingly prevalent amongst university and community college students.

According to the USDA, food insecurity is “a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.”

The Feed Your Brain campaign, started by seniors Emma Kiley and An Garagiola and alumna Elise Hanson, is a student-run organization on campus created to inform students about food insecurity problems on campus and to solve these problems beginning with student outreaches on Hamline’s campus.

For Kiley, this campaign hit close to home.

“When I lived on campus, my second semester, I wasn’t on the meal plan. That was a semester for me where I think that if I didn’t have the social and economic support system that I do, I would have really struggled,” Kiley said.

Sophomore Maggie Bruns, who is also an active participant in the campaign, cares deeply about food insecurity .

“I’m passionate about social justice issues, and… I liked that [the campaign] was specific to our community, about what could be done on Hamline’s campus specifically,” Bruns said.

The Foodmobile, a mobile pantry which visits Hamline on a monthly basis, is a resource  that Kiley and Bruns feel is important.

“It… comes once a month and provides free fresh groceries to students and in the community through the Keystone services,” Bruns said. “Students just have to fill out a short intake form regarding household income and size. Basically, everyone qualifies, especially undergraduate students.”

Kiley also commented on the ease of the forms necessary for the Foodmobile.

“It has its own separate intake forms, but nothing is related to your parents unless you live with your parents and your parents are also paying for your groceries,” Kiley said.

The Feed Your Brain Campaign’s partnership with HUSC is fairly new, but Bruns and Kiley said that they are currently working on setting up a permanent free pantry on campus for students to use.

“As we’ve started having conversations about it, we just keep meeting students who have the same problem,” Kiley said.

For some students, food insecurity is a difficult issue to talk about, but just because they remain silent does not mean that these resources are not life-savers.

For a sophomore who asked to remain anonymous, these resources are exactly that.

“I struggle enough to pay rent and tuition bills. It sucks watching my friends go out every weekend while I have to dig through church donation bins just for a can of soup. I almost depend completely upon the pantry and bus and other resources to get by,” the student said. “I don’t think people know enough about the struggles some of us face to get an education.”

For more information about Feed Your Brain and the Foodmobile, students can read a previously article published in the Oracle, “Facing Food Insecurity in the New Year” by Kelly Holm. Students looking for other food resources can also visit the Bethany Lutheran Church on Franklin Avenue Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for free soup, salad and bread.

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