Hunger is a significant and pervasive problem across American society, especially with the recent economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 54 million people may experience food insecurity in 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic, says the nonprofit group Feeding America.
College campuses are no exception to this national problem, and many students live on a shoestring budget month to month.
“While food insecurity is more widely recognized in our communities, there is less awareness about how college students are affected,” said Ernest Jeffries, vice president for student engagement, who has worked to address food insecurity on college campuses for many years and now brings his vision to MBU. “Unfortunately, college students represent a significant number of those in our nation that are suffering from poverty and food insecurity. Current literature suggests that the rate of food insecurity among American college students is four times the national average.”
According to a 2019 national report on basic needs insecurity among college students from Temple University’s Hope Center, 34% of students at four-year colleges said that they had run out of food and did not have money to buy more, while 44% said they worried about their food not lasting until their next paycheck or other income source.
Thanks to generous support from founding donor Elia Durr Buck ’50 and additional contributors, Mary Baldwin University is stepping up to fight food insecurity on campus.