Food in the News: Universities Fighting Food Insecurity
Jan 22

Food in the News: Universities Fighting Food Insecurity

By Kelly Regan, Let's Move Pittsburgh CDC Associate

To increase awareness of children’s health and wellness topics, Phipps' Let’s Move Pittsburgh program presents Food in the News, a column on local, state and national health policies and nutrition related updates that impact you.

An often over-looked population in terms of food insecurity is starting to get more attention in the state of Pennsylvania. Following suit from many New York universities, an increasing number of colleges and universities in Pennsylvania are establishing food pantries and food assistance programs to address food insecure students.

Surprised to hear this is an issue? College students don’t always come to mind as a group that struggles to find their next meal, however, a recent report titled “Hunger on Campus” found that a shocking 48% of survey respondents had experienced some form of food insecurity in the last 30 days.

To combat this issue, many schools are taking action. Kutztown University, located in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, added a food pantry three years ago after learning that some students were saving their money to buy textbooks in place of food. Another Pennsylvania school, East Stroudsburg University, partnered with a local church to open a food pantry for their students. Similar programs have also started at Northampton Community College, West Chester University, Millersville University, Mansfield University, Edinboro University, Clarion University, California University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to food, hygiene and toiletry products are also in high demand at many of these pantries, which in most cases are stocked and supported by the university’s facility and staff. Hopefully in future years, Pennsylvania will follow in the footsteps of New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, who is moving to mandate food pantries at all New York state universities, and plans to commit $1 million towards the funding of these pantries.

If you’d like to donate to the local Pitt Pantry at the University of Pittsburgh, the PittServes office accepts food and hygiene donations on weekdays between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm (located on the 9th floor of the William Pitt Union). The most in demand items currently include cooking oil, condiments, cereal, snacks (pretzels, crackers, granola bars, etc.), and menstrual hygiene products. Monetary donations can be made Give to Pitt.

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1. Palocko, Jacqueline. “Growing Number of Pennsylvania Colleges Adding Food Pantries for Hungry Students.” The Morning Call, 8 Jan. 2018, Web.