Hunger is an ongoing problem in the U.S. for people of all ages. And that includes college students.
A recent survey conducted at Appalachian State University showed that about 46 percent of students had experienced food insecurity in a one-year period.
The college took action by opening a food pantry, and making it available to faculty, staff and students. It's now been operating for just over a year.
Dr. Adam Hege is an Appalachian State University public health assistant professor. WFDD's Neal Charnoff sat down with Dr. Hege to talk about food insecurity at college and beyond.
On the existence of food insecurity on college campuses:
Specific to North Carolina, we rank actually as the ninth worst state in the country in terms of food insecurity. And when you bring it to Watauga County where Appalachian State is located, 18 percent of residents are food insecure. So when you tie all these pieces together, we find that food insecurity is all around us, which includes college campuses, and is really not unique to our university.
On the food pantry's mixed results:
There's been some people maybe questioning, 'Is food insecurity a major issue?' There's been some apprehension among some students to make use of the food pantry. It's kind of a cultural dynamic that plays out with people with food insecurity, being kind of hesitant to seek out assistance.
On getting the word out about the availability of the food pantry:
We work directly with our Office of Sustainability here on campus….and the food pantry is housed in their office, so we have fliers around campus. Faculty talk about the food pantry in class, make students aware of it, we make sure to have open door polices in terms of our offices so students can come in and talk with us.