UT-Austin students raise awareness about food insecurity through Hungry Horns Facebook page

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Photo Credit: Rocky Higine | Daily Texan Staff

Three UT students launched a Facebook page last week to provide students with information about food sources, including a document listing resources where students can access assistance. 

The resource page, Hungry Horns, includes information on UT Outpost, Micah 6 Food Pantry and Hope Food Pantry such as their location, contact information, hours of operation and how to receive food from these resources. Co-creator Hailey Fanucchi said the mission is to provide UT students with resources and destigmatize food insecurity on campus.

Approximately 23.5% of UT students described themselves as food insecure, according to a 2018 study by the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences. Biology senior Fanucchi said the fact that almost a quarter of students experience food insecurity initially motivated her to create Hungry Horns. 

Co-creator Haley Etzler said the team decided to launch the Facebook page now because of COVID-19’s negative impact on food security.

“A lot of the hours at the places where individuals can get food have changed so it can seem overwhelming to someone to try to figure out where they can go to get food,” nutrition sophomore Etzler said. “Our mission was to make it easy for them by having everything in one place that they can access, and be able to go and get food.”

Fanucchi said if the Facebook page is able to reach a large number of students, they will expand their efforts, but they are willing to change their outreach methods if the page is not well received.

“We really wanted to get this information out there, because right now people are struggling even more than they were struggling before,” Fanucchi said. “Since there are a lot of students at home right now, we thought, ‘What is the best way that we can reach everybody, people who don't come to campus and do come to campus?’ We thought the quickest way to reach everybody was Facebook.”

Co-creator Alexis Salim said she witnessed food insecurity with the University Housing and Dining meal plan as a freshman.

“It was impossible to eat three meals a day for the entire school year,” biology senior Salim said. “The math just didn't add up. Without the ‘safety net’ of a dining plan and without knowledge of nutrition or cooking, many people I know turn to eating out as a way to feed themselves. This is usually not sustainable since eating out is expensive.”

Pediatrics professor Steven Abrams said an important step in the fight to end food security on campus is letting people know that they are not alone. 

“It’s a matter of letting people know that the problem they are dealing with is common and it is not their fault,” Abrams said. "Nobody doesn't have enough money on a college campus because they want to not have enough money. It is not that they are overspending. It is that they simply do not have the resources.”

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to fix an incorrect spelling of the last name of Steven Abrams. The Daily Texan regrets this error.