Food Pantries Help Cash Strapped Students
Anyone who went to college knows that money is hard to come by. Calls home are often capped off with requests for cash to buy books, pay tuition, or just some spending money for those Friday nights out with friends.
And as money becomes more and more of an issue for college kids, they take measures to cut corners and make due, so to speak.
For students in Michigan, making due means heading to the food pantry.
At Michigan State University (MSU), there has been a 25% increase since 2008 in the number of students who visited the student-run food bank.
Michigan isn't alone, as Grand Valley State University opened a food pantry in April.
College campuses aren't places where most would expect to find a food bank. However, students are turning to college-sponsored food banks for help because of ever-increasing tuition costs, the loss of financial aid programs like the Michigan Promise scholarship, and financial support from home being cut-off or diminished because parents have lost jobs.
Earlier this month, 256 people lined up at MSU's Olin Health Center to get bags filled with peanut butter, canned tomatoes, and corn. Michigan State University students have run a program for needy students, fueled by cash and food donations, since 1993.
"I'm paying for all my schooling and I'm working, and this really helps," Lena Runestad, an MSU student told a local TV station. "It supplements healthier food options that I otherwise couldn't afford."