Editorial: WSSU food pantry reveals breadth of food insecurity

Editorial: WSSU food pantry reveals breadth of food insecurity
February 25
00:00 2016

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) and Food Lion joined to open a food pantry on campus this month.

Food pantries are known to help people in communities, but it’s surprising that students on campuses need one.

The fact is, food pantries have opened on other campuses, also. The College and University Food Bank Alliance has 271 active member institutions across the country with food pantries for food insecure students. Another campus in the Triad that has one is UNC-Greensboro.

WSSU Chancellor Elwood Robinson said, “I think there’s a misconception about college students. People think that if you have the resources to be able to go to college, you have all your basic needs met.” That’s true, people do think that.

However, the fact that the pantries are opening up across the nation shows that food insecurity is widespread. People striving to gain knowledge to improve their job and career prospects in the 21st century have had to pay more for that opportunity, thus taking away money that would have been used for basic needs.

While there are restrictions regarding using the pantry, the fact that it is even on WSSU’s campus speaks volumes. The focus has been on older people who have to choose between paying for things like medicine and food. The food pantry revelation should spur more discussion about the state of college students, too.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines has organized a Winston-Salem Poverty Thought Force to fight poverty in Winston-Salem, which has a 24-percent rate. It is unclear whether college students are counted in that 24 percent, but the mayor should include a discussion of how to help college students in the Winston-Salem Poverty Thought Force discussions. (Although the discussion on Education/Life Skills and Housing/Homelessness took place on Feb. 23, the discussion on Unemployment/Job Skills  and Health/Wellness takes place March 17.)

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