Food insecurity is a real problem facing Florida students.
According to data provided to the Tampa Bay Times, students struggling with food insecurity logged more than 16,000 visits in 2015 to centers at the University of South Florida, the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Central Florida.
Why are so many college students struggling with hunger issues? Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University, explains these students tend to be part of a new generation who lack the safety net that traditional college students have enjoyed.
“In the past, these are students who would not have gone to college. But they have nowhere else to go now. There aren’t jobs,” said Goldrick-Rab in the article, who has focused part of her work in South Florida. “I’ve watched students in community college in Miami get off the sidewalk they were sleeping on and go into class. People are going to all kinds of extremes to afford to go to school.”
The pantries at USF, UF and UCF, as well as others throughout the state rely on food drives, donations and community partnerships to provide students access to essentials like canned tuna and chicken, pasta, soup and peanut butter. Some pantries, such as the one located at USF, aim to provide fresh produce for students in the future.
To learn more about food insecurity among Florida’s college students, read the full article from the Tampa Bay Times. Stories of students struggling with hunger and what Florida colleges are doing to help were also featured in a recent Washington Post article, which you can read here. The Florida Board of Governors also released an Info Brief on food pantries at State University System institutions, which you can read here.
The College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA) maintains a list of active member institutions that support campus-based food pantries on their website. According to their member page, there are 325 college food pantries in the nation. Below is a list of Florida institutions listed in their directory:
Hillsborough Community College
New College of Florida