The Campus Hunger Project:
Understand the Problem
When we say campus hunger, we are really talking about food insecurity.
Hunger is the craving or physical need for food. Campus food insecurity is when students don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and don’t have the necessary resources, time or money to afford or access food.
Who is this affecting?
Students across the country: at private, public, urban and rural colleges of all sizes.
Here’s a number to know: over 500 colleges are
members of The College and University Food Bank
Alliance (CUFBA), an organization that supports existing and emerging campus food banks. That number keeps growing.
Why is this happening?
For many reasons, but here are 3 main ones to know:
Tuition is up: Over the past 2 decades, the price of tuition has gone up while family income has not.
Living costs (meals and housing) have grown faster than the rate of inflation, more than doubling since 1980.
Financial aid still doesn’t make college affordable. The biggest form of financial aid for low-income students is a Pell Grant, and that barely covers 1/3 the cost of college.
Get Food Now
Swipe Out Hunger partners with college campuses to allow university students to donate unused meal points to their food insecure community, turning unused resources into action.
The Campus Kitchens Project partners with colleges and universities to share on-campus kitchen space, recover food from cafeterias and engage students as volunteers who prepare and deliver meals to the community. Some Campus Kitchens donate prepared meals to on-campus food pantries that students can pick up on-the-go. Visit their website to see if this is an option on your campus.
The College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA) is a professional organization that provides support, training, and resources for campus food banks and pantries that primarily serve students.
The Food Recovery Network unites students on college campuses to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste from their campuses and communities and donating it to people in need.
The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth offers a Higher Education Helpline for assistance with issues related to students experiencing homelessness accessing higher education.
Scholarship America Dreamkeepers helps students stay in college when faced with an unforeseen financial emergency. Through Dreamkeepers, students receive financial assistance as well as mentoring and financial counseling.
Single Stop partners with local organizations and institutions that serve low-income families to provide wraparound services and ensure their clients leverage all the major anti-poverty resources available. Since 2007, Single Stop has connected 1.2 million households with $3.5 billion in resources and support.
uAspire partners with high schools, community organizations, higher education institutions, and individual practitioners to provide college affordability advice to young people and their families.
United Way focuses on creating community-based and community-led solutions that strengthen the cornerstones for a good quality of life: education, financial stability, and health. Their 2-1-1 system provides a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects people from all communities and of all ages to the essential health and human services they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Advocacy & Research Organizations
Wisconsin HOPE Lab documents the challenges students face in securing food and housing, evaluates efforts to meet their needs, and shares information with policymakers and practitioners.
The National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness (NSCAHH) organizes college students to end hunger and homelessness. NSCAHH educates, trains, and engages students to use a variety of strategies to address these problems, including direct service, education, and fundraising.
The Student Government Resource Center (SGRC) works to strengthen student governments into more effective vehicles for student engagement and empowerment. SGRC provides student government leaders with the training and resources to succeed, from how to run productive meetings to how to win changes in campus policies and be effective advocates for students.
The Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) are independent statewide student organizations that work on issues including environmental protection, consumer protection, and hunger and homelessness. For more than 40 years, students working with their campus PIRG chapters have been making a real difference in people’s lives and winning concrete changes to build a better world.