Making a Difference by Jennifer Haynes

making a difference

Ever heard of food insecurity and/or housing insecurity?

The USDA defines food insecurity as a state in which “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” Good shorthand terms for food insecurity are “struggling to avoid hunger,” “hungry, or at risk of hunger,” and “hungry, or faced by the threat of hunger.”

Health and Human Services has defined housing insecurity as high housing costs in proportion to income, poor housing quality, unstable neighborhoods, overcrowding, or homelessness. Also, another definition is crowding in the home and multiple moves.

Sadly, these are terms we are hearing more frequently. Food insecurity has become an issue on college campuses around the nation, and can pose a significant barrier to student success.  Many students come to campus with limited resources.  Managing basic needs can be difficult, especially for those who have never had to deal with it before.  I recently read a report released by the Wisconsin Hope Lab titled Hungry to Learn:  Addressing Food and Housing Insecurity Among Undergraduates; the results were heartbreaking.  The report revealed that of the 4000 community college students surveyed, more than half were struggling with food and/or housing insecurity.  Hunger and lack of personal care necessities could make it difficult to study, sleep, or engage in academic or social activities and can decrease a student’s chance of obtaining a degree.

Moberly Area Community College is establishing a Bare Necessities Pantry. The Pantry will hold personal care and food items, as well as nominal gift/gas cards.  The Pantry will be available to all students.  This small step can make a huge impact on the life of a student; a step that could keep them in school and complete a degree.

Do you have a similar program on your campus? Please share what you are doing! Here are a few examples of campus programs around the nation:

Campus Food Pantry

Care package programs

Emergency fund account

Campus Kitchen

Now…..go make a difference on your campus!


Jennifer Haynes

Assistant Director of Financial Aid

Moberly Area Community College

Melissa FindleyMelissa Findley on March 14, 2016 at 8:08 am said:
This comment was submitted by Linda Johns at Ozarks Technical Community College. Thanks to a Walmart grant, OTC is hosting a free dental screening event on March 29 at 2 p.m. at the Richwood Valley Campus. All participants will receive a dental screening, toothbrush, toothpaste and materials. The grant will fund 160 preventative dental care vouchers to OTC students on a first-come, first-served basis. The grant will also pay for 120 gas cards, which will allow students from outlying campuses and centers to travel to OTC to receive dental care. “Thanks to the Walmart Foundation, we now have the opportunity to help our students who might not otherwise have access to preventative dental care,” said Rebecca Caceres, OTC dental hygiene program director. “By serving this specific student population, we hope to create a positive cycle of dental awareness and good oral hygiene.”

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