In a letter to the Government Accountability Office on February 23, 2017, four senators addressed an issue that plagues as many as 2 in 3 community college students, and around one-fifth of students at four year universities: food insecurity. This issue has steadily grown over the past years, but only recently has it received recognition.

Now, leading researchers, nonprofit organizations like Challah for Hunger, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and the Campus Kitchens Project, are coming together to demonstrate the magnitude of the effects on students and to design solutions to better equip universities to help their students.

The Letter

meat, wine, pizza, beer
Lauren Ross

The senators opened the letter by saying, "sacrificing food for education can undermine a student's educational goals and create barriers on their path to obtaining a certificate, degree, or credential...this raises concern and deserves greater scrutiny."

Ultimately, they argued for a national study to be conducted, to increase the efforts made by the government in contributing to a solution, and their request was granted on March 20

Though the senators drew national attention with their letter, students have the power to change how campuses address this issue.  Across the country, nonprofit leaders and students are collaborating on events and campaigns to increase awareness about this issue. 

The Food Waste and Hunger Summit

On March 24 & 25, the Campus Kitchens Project and Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) joined together to enable students in the fight against food insecurity. The conference, aimed to train students in successful practices that have been utilized by other organizations, and to allow them to expand their networks.

During one of the breakout sessions, led by Challah for Hunger and Swipe Out Hunger, participants discussed ways to reduce stigma and become peer advocates.  

According to Marah Zinnen, education chair of The Campus Kitchens Project at UW-Madison, "Some of the key points of the session were finding ways to help students become peer advocates, because most students find resources through their peers, and de-stigmatizing hunger through use of inclusive language. 

Get Involved

To get involved in fighting food insecurity, find a Campus Kitchen, Challah for Hunger, or Swipe Out Hunger chapter near you, learn more about the issue through Challah for Hunger's resource library, and share your findings on social media. 

Together, we can reduce the stigma surrounding food-insecurity on campus.  Something as simple as sending your food pictures to the GiftAMeal app, means that someone else without a meal will be provided with one and that students' won't sacrifice their next meal to cover the cost of academic materials.