Monday, January 16

Hungry in College? Welcome to Food Insecurity

You may not think this problem is happening at your college, but it is. Even at big-name schools, more and more students are going to bed hungry.

After struggling to pay rising tuition costs and living expenses, there's little money left for food. Some of these students are sleeping in their cars and plenty of them are dropping out of school. Very few of them qualify for food stamps.

So, What Can You Do?

If you've seen someone facing this tough reality, help that person! Anyone that cares enough about school to go hungry needs your help and definitely deserves your respect. Start with an invitation to eat with you and your friends on a regular basis. I've met people who became great friends this way. Then get involved in the efforts to help address the problem. Many students who face this problem are too embarrassed to ask for help. Don't be shy about bringing this issue to light at your school and in your community.

Here are some ways you may be able to help:

  • Talk to your student aid office. Many schools have—or are starting—aid systems for students who can't afford proper nutrition. Other schools don't have official nutrition programs yet but may help students on an individual basis. If your school doesn't have a way to help, ask "Why not?"
  • Locate the nearest food bank or food pantry in your city to see if you can refer students to them if your school is unable to help. Some food banks are becoming aware of this problem and are finding ways to help.
  • Talk to the leaders of clubs and social organizations on campus. Many sororities and fraternities have their own meal programs. Suggest that student organizations sponsor meal programs for students in need.

Beyond Food: Other Ways to Help

Students who can't afford food are most likely short on money. They may be short on some money skills, too. As you get to know a student, try to steer them to some of FoolProof's money tools for students.

If you're lucky enough to be in school and are eating well, share that luck. Get involved in efforts to resolve this issue. And please, let me know if you have any additional tips to help good students who face this problem.

Cheers, Will

FoolProof Education

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