Food insecurity is a reality many Washingtonians face, directly impacting college students nationwide, making the holidays a challenge.
For many, Thanksgiving is a holiday of feasting with dishes ranging from turkey to mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, but for some, it is a holiday when hunger strikes.
As reported by Feeding America, 638,210 people are facing hunger in Washington State alone, with 29% of college students facing food insecurity nationwide.
The impact of food insecurity on college students is detrimental to their health and overall academic performance. According to the Health Affairs Organization, students facing food insecurity are more likely to have lower GPAs as well as a diminishing ability to focus and perform in class, while making them more likely to suffer from stress and depression.
In response, many universities including UWT have built pantries on campus to alleviate students from hunger and allow food security.
Students now have access to free food, perishable items as well as hygiene products. With open availability to shop in-person once a week with a limit of 20 items, students can fulfill their dietary restrictions such as halal, kosher, lactose-free, vegan and gluten free.
“We’re (the pantry) not planning anything for Thanksgiving, but will be holding a food drive during winter,” said Erin Cousins, Program Support Supervisor of the Center for Equity and Inclusion.
The winter food drive will be an open campus donation drive, anyone is welcome to donate perishable and nonperishable items. A list created by the pantry will also be posted with specific donation requests.
“Students can look up food banks in their area, there’s also Huskies Care for food resources,” said Cousins.
To further diminish food security during the holidays, local food banks are available to students and their families. Emergency assistance is also available to all students. Whether students need financial support, food, or housing, students can fill out a form and receive immediate help.
Pantry Location: Dougan 104 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For students looking for local food banks: https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank
To apply for emergency assistance: https://apps.tacoma.uw.edu/emergency-assistance-portal/application-core/protected/