The hunger crisis affects about 1 in 7 Americans, which equates to roughly 46 million people, affecting people from all walks of life. More often than not, hunger is closer to home than you might expect. Part of my goal for 2017 involves giving back to the community, and after enjoying delicious food over the break, I wanted to learn more about assisting others who may not be as fortunate.

Since I'm a college student with $7 to my name and limited resources, I decided to figure out a few ways that people my age can help feed the hungry without necessarily spending any extra money. 

1. Contribute to your community's programs.

Check out local churches and non-profits who may have soup kitchens, food pantries, or programs like Meals on Wheels set up. Feeding America offers a food bank locator on their website, along with tons of information on the hunger crisis and feeding the hungry. Helping out with any of these is a great way to knock out service hours while really making a difference.

2. Be mindful of wasting food.

vegetable, salad

Find creative ways to use the food that's been sitting in your fridge! Think of your leftovers as ingredients for new meals, you'll save money and help eliminate the billions of pounds of food that end up in landfills each year. Your food scraps are useful too; find out what can be reused and see if your food bank does any composting.

3. Utilize campus organizations.

If you're part of any collegiate clubs, think about the change you can make together. Make feeding the hungry part of your community service initiative, suggest a food drive competition between clubs, or see how your group can promote awareness of the hunger crisis on campus.

Sites like CUFBA are also in place to provide resources to emerging campus food banks. Take advantage of the opportunities to give back as an organization and group of friends.

4. Be aware of discounts at the grocery.

sweet, juice, apple
Jocelyn Hsu

When you shop for specials at the store, consider this opportunity to give back without forking out extra money. Deals like buy-one, get-one free or significant markdowns that allow you to get excess food for cheap offer a great chance to help feed your community.

5. Click around on the internet for a cause.

cereal, rice
Aakanksha Joshi

If you're in college, I'm willing to bet you're proficient in wasting time online. Next time you're tuning out the professor, spend some time on sites like, where you can play super simple games that benefit work done by the World Food Programme. The games are really easy, and you can now feed the hungry while avoiding homework.