UT students experiencing food insecurity need greater access to food banks, healthy options

Julia Zaksek

In their time at UT, one in four students will experience food insecurity. Amid the stresses of school, outside jobs and living away from home, these students worry where their next meal will come from. 

Increasing costs of tuition, the rising prices of living on and off-campus and the challenge of balancing multiple jobs with school work can leave students without money for nutritious food options. 

Skipping meals can harm students’ health. Students who go hungry are more likely to have problems sleeping, get sick and struggle academically. 

Student Emergency Services founded UT Outpost in 2018 in an effort to provide resources for students struggling with food insecurity. The food pantry, according to its list of needed items, provides students with nonperishable items. 

While the Outpost is an important resource for students, its options can be limited for students. An overreliance on prepackaged foods like instant noodles and macaroni and cheese can cause health problems for students. Students can also struggle to find places to conveniently prepare meals with prepackaged ingredients. 

The Lutheran Campus Ministry also has a food pantry, the Daily Bread. While located near campus, the pantry is funded by the church and its ministry, not the University. While the Daily Bread has more options for students — including nonperishable items — it is only open one day a week. 

With limited options at UT Outpost and limited hours at the Daily Bread, some students still struggle to find healthy meals. With so many students threatened by food insecurity, the University must make an effort to institute a greater number of food pantries near campus and ensure that all pantries have both perishable and nonperishable, healthy options. 

In this forum, psychology sophomore Annelise Flores describes her experience using food banks close to campus and challenges stereotypes about those who struggle with food insecurity. 

Radio-televison-film senior Annabelle Kolev explains what resources are avaliable for food insecure students and why they must be expanded.

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