We’ve all heard the clichés about “starving students” and jokes about “living on ramen.” But for many students hunger is all too real.

Last year, Feeding America found that one in 10 hungry adults seeking emergency food assistance is a student.

Davin Brown, director of student engagement and outreach for Associated Students, Inc., (ASI) says there’s often a stigma associated with not knowing where your next meal will come from. And among a student population, it can be a particularly sensitive topic.

“Students are managing through their maturity and identifying their needs,” Brown says. “Some choose to scrape by, as opposed to seeking support.”

A 2013 survey on food insufficiency among college students by family and consumer sciences professor Lynn Hanna found that more than 17 percent of respondents dealt with food insecurity, largely due to a lack of financial resources. It also found that they were unaware of available support services.

Today’s college students are often faced with the task of juggling costs of basic groceries and toiletries, tuition, fees and books. The ASI Food Pantry provides food and basic necessities to Sac State students to lessen the burden food insecurities have on their education.

One in 10 hungry
adults seeking
emergency food
assistance is a student. 

“In addition to helping subsidize an essential food or toiletry need, the primary goal is to ensure our students are not worried about those issues while focused on their educational goals,” says Brown, “Ultimately, that’s what it’s about.”

During his time as vice president of finance for ASI, Michael Bloss II ’15 (Entrepreneurship and General Management) was an integral player in turning the food pantry from an idea to reality. He understands the importance a food pantry can hold for those in need.

“My family and I used the services from a local community food pantry in the past,” says Bloss. “I had the personal connection of dealing with hardships. So I thought it would be great to have a centralized and localized pantry on our campus.”

The food pantry also serves as a tangible example that Sac State takes care of its own.

“We wanted to make sure this effort was centered on community,” Brown says. “That we could send a message that this is for the Sac State community, by the Sac State community.”

Brown says all those involved with the program are identifying ways the local and campus community can volunteer—through inventory assistance, stocking shelves or participation at food solicitation events—all designed to make sure the program is a success and students are supported.

Not far removed from his days as a student, Bloss says the pantry—and the efforts behind it—will be comforting for students.

“It’s like that saying ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ and in a lot of cases it’s true,” says Bloss. “Students will know their peers and the campus community are committed to their health and well-being, not just their pursuit of knowledge.”

Brown and Bloss note the pantry falls in line with efforts to keep students on the path to success.

“We’ll hopefully see an increase in passing and graduation rates. Students are not going to be hungry during the day and will be more focused on their studies,” says Bloss. “That’s what the University wants to improve, and the pantry should have a net effect on that.”

Organizers have been impressed with the outpouring of support for the pantry, part of the College and University Food Bank Alliance. In fact, President Robert Nelsen has made it a priority for funds from the President’s Circle giving society.

“There’s so much significance around this effort that the community is overwhelmingly supportive,” says Brown. “With the amount of donations we’re receiving on top of what we’re securing with Sac Food Bank and Family Services, I think it will be a very robust and successful program.”

To donate, visit www.asi.csus.edu/donations-volunteering

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