STUDENTS EXPERIENCE FOOD INSECURITY

KAYLA MARTHALER, SENIOR NEWS WRITER

Around 45% of college students in the U.S. have food insecurities at some point during, according to NBC News. Food insecurity is the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food, and more than 800 million people live every day with hunger or food insecurity as their constant companion.

“There aren’t a whole lot of opportunities to get food in Waverly very often,” Josh Voigt, a fourth-year journalism and communication major and international student, said. “Normally we’ll have to wait about once every two weeks before food becomes available through food banks or churches.”

There are four levels of food security, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ranking from high security, marginal security, low security and very low security. Anyone with less than marginal food security is considered food insecure.

College students who are unable to afford a board meal plan through their school and considered food insecure do not have to go hungry because they have options to put food on their table. At Wartburg College, international students experience the trouble of finding food during breaks, when students cannot visit the Mensa cafeteria or get meal transfers and can only use points to purchase food on campus.

“I think the thing that most people need to focus on doing before breaks is ordering Grab and Go’s with meal transfers well in advance to at least ensure that they are covered for at least a few days on top of purchasing their normal food,” Voigt suggested for international students to prepare for break. Another option for students who are food insecure are food pantries.

Wartburg’s Office of Student Life has provided a small food pantry, St Elizabeth’s Bread Basket, with non-perishable food items to assist students who lack dining points, money or transportation to purchase their own food over breaks. Permanent residents of Iowa have the ability to apply for the Food Assistance Program, according to the Iowa Department of Human Services.

The Food Assistance Program provides Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that can be used to purchase groceries at supermarkets, grocery stores and some Farmers Markets. As long as a student meets the income guidelines, which can be found by taking an assessment at dhs.iowa.gov/how-to-apply, they are eligible to apply for food assistance.

The Shell Rock Community Food Pantry, located at 224 S Cherry St in Shell Rock, provides groceries for $10 per adult. The Embassy Vineyard Church located at 319 W Bremer Ave. in Waverly has a mobile food pantry every second Tuesday of the month from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., according to foodpantries.org.

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