Food insecurity is an unfortunate, yet common trend among college students.
“Last fall we found that 60% of NDSU students knew of another student who experienced food shortage or had trouble with paying for food and skipping meals,” said co-chair of the Food Insecurity Task Force, Meghan Yerhot.
The goal of the task force is to try to put an end to this problem.
“We really wanted to start implementing something where we could reach students if they feel ashamed about coming out saying that they are struggling with food,” explained Yerhot.
The task force has implemented the national program called Swipe Out Hunger.
Students in need of food assistance can apply for additional help by filling out a google form explaining what type of hardship they may be facing. They will then receive funding to their student ID card that can be redeemed at the dining centers for additional meals.
Program leaders say the ease and privacy of this program allows for students to seek help without having to feel the burden of stigma of not having enough money for food.
“Now more than ever, with COVID, a lot of students have experienced job loss or lower money coming in,” said Yerhot.
Funding for the program is entirely through donations. Faculty and staff were able to donate through a payroll deduction or a one-time gift.
This is just one step NDSU is taking to address food insecurity. Next spring, the university is set to open a food pantry at its bookstore as an additional way to make sure no Bison goes hungry.