New Campus Food Pantry to Help Student Hunger

When you hear the slogan: “Eat well, do well,” most of us expect an ad for some new, hardcore diet. Or, maybe a quote on a poster you see at your local gym or yoga studio.

But this slogan belongs to Front Range Community College faculty member Jessica Jurgella, who has partnered up with Food Bank of The Rockies to create a local, campus organization called “The Pantry” to help students and faculty staff with nutritional needs.

The food pantry’s slogan is “Eat well, do well” and will be located in the Student Life Center. It is a place where students who are dealing with food insecurity can come and find their next meal, Jurgella told the Front Page in an interview. She estimates “The Pantry” will be officially open in spring semester 2016. As of now, there are early resources available to anyone who is in need. The Pantry’s main goal is to help any student who is hungry, or may not know where there next meal is coming from.

This being more of a local organization, The Pantry will strive to supply students with healthy food options. Some other organizations give out boxes full of processed food that do not meet the nutritional value of students.

“The Pantry allows you to shop for what you need,” Jurgella said. It is Front Range Community College’s local way of giving back to the students and better helping them with their educational needs. The organizers of The Pantry want you to feel genuinely welcome to shop for what you need in a comfortable, accepting environment.

How big a problem is food insecurity among college students? According to healthline.com, 60 percent of college students are “food insecure,” meaning that large number of students can’t afford food. This maybe jeopardizing their physical health and may even be putting their mental wellbeing, and academic performance, at risk.

In a recent study from Oregon University, 59 percent of students were food insecure in the last year. A majority of the students at the campus said that rising tuition costs and having to pay bills left them without food or a way to get food.

In 2012, a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 14.5 percent of households had limited to uncertain access to nutrition. Without meeting those nutritional expectations on a daily basis, other factors in life may be jeopardized, such as health and academic performance.

Let’s be honest; college is not cheap. When you are paying for classes, you always want to do your best and not waste your money. So when you are hungry and can’t focus, it’s hard to be as studious as you can.  Think back to Psychology 101, and Abraham Maslow, the creator of the hierarchy of needs, who stated, “If one need is not being met, all needs are not being met.”

“The Pantry” organizers said they hope to encourage students to be the best they can, nutrition wise. Eating well, being healthy, and keeping an active mind all support academic performance, Jurgella said.

It is comforting to know that there are resources and additional effort on campus to support students.

Written by Nicole Le Febre

Originally published in the print edition on December 9, 2015

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