Monday, July 28, 2008

More College Students Using Food Pantries

According to reports from college campuses, more students are turning to college-run food pantries to subsidize their nutrition needs and students who already receive food stamps are vocalizing their need for more assistance. Despite specific eligibility requirements for student food stamp applicants, many college students may still qualify for food stamps, especially otherwise-eligible working students, students with children and those already receiving other government benefits.

Former Benedict College student, Terry Capleton applied for food stamps while in college and subsequently founded a Facebook group for college students who receive food stamp benefits. The group’s membership has grown as food pantries near college campuses have reported increased demand from student populations. Students cite loss of parental support and changes in meal plan status as reasons for seeking out food assistance. "There is a stereotype that well, if they're in college, they can afford to eat," said Larry Brickner-Wood, director of a food pantry at New Hampshire University. "But there are some students who have hardly any disposable income, and because of that, the food budget suffers. They either eat really badly, or they just don't eat enough." Low-income and non-traditional aged students have suffered more as a result of rising food costs, but Brickner-Wood describes some college students seeking food assistance as “typical, traditional students.”

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