Giving Tuesday Features Food Pantry for Students

Posted on 11/12/2018 3:32:12 PM

2018 Giving TuesdayYou can take a stand against hunger among college students, as the IUP community looks to international Giving Tuesday on November 27, 2018. During this annual day of philanthropic giving that takes place around the world, IUP’s efforts this year will help to establish a food pantry for students.

“The need is real,” Stephanie Sell, interim Annual Giving director, said. “In January, the University of Pittsburgh conducted the Campus Cupboard Study, a needs assessment of collegiate food insecurity in Southwestern Pennsylvania. More than a thousand IUP students responded to the survey—representing an incredible 17 percent. Among all respondents, 70 percent said they would access a food pantry, if it were available.”

The problem of food insecurity relates not only to lack of food but also to quality—nutrient-rich food—and it’s not confined to IUP. Colleges and universities across the country, including some Pennsylvania State System universities, are establishing food pantry programs, feeding thousands of hungry students. 

“Nearly a third of IUP students—both undergraduate and graduate students—regularly  skip meals or go hungry due to lack of funds,” said Melanie Hildebrandt, a Sociology Department faculty member who serves as the advisor of the Each One Reach One program. “When they have to make a choice between paying rent, buying books, or shopping for groceries, food is the first thing to go. Bottom line: it’s hard to perform well and do your best work when you’re worrying about food or going hungry, especially as the end of the semester approaches.”

Hildebrandt and students have worked this semester to create a pop-up pantry, but they’d like to strive toward something permanent.

“We see this as a first step toward raising awareness about hunger on our campus and raising funds to support a permanent food pantry at IUP. Your gift will ensure that future IUP students can focus on their grades and school work with the necessary energy and mental focus that comes from being food secure,” she said.