Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Saluki Food Pantry helps battle food insecurity during the holidays 

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Many people associate this time of year with food. Large family gatherings and big meals with an array of main courses, sides and desserts make up many people’s holiday season.

Not enough awareness is brought to food insecurity among college students this time of year. A national survey done by the Urban Institute in 2020 showed that nearly 23% of undergraduate students were food insecure.

The Saluki Food Pantry engages the SIU campus community to help increase awareness of food and hunger issues to engage more students and campus leaders.

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The pantry is an organization on campus that works to help decrease those insecurities for students during the holidays and all other times of the year.

There are many reasons students tend to suffer from food insecurities more than others.

“With rising fees, textbook cost and living expenses, it has become increasingly difficult for students to juggle the cost of living with the cost of obtaining a university degree, and thus many students are fighting themselves, choosing between essentials such as food and the costs of college,” the pantry said.

Tuition and other university expenses can be covered by scholarships and financial aid, but the majority of the time living expenses, such as food, are not covered.

College students work day in and day out to improve their lives by working towards a college degree. A high percentage of these students are working to provide for themselves and to afford their schooling. The overwhelming stress of where their next meal is coming from should be the least of a student’s worries.

Many minority, first generation and housing-insecure college students are more at risk of being food insecure due to lack of financial resources.

Even students with secure housing are at risk of food insecurity. Meal plans at many universities can be quite pricey. Here at SIU, dining plans for on-campus dormitories and apartments range anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 for a full academic year adding a large financial burden on students.

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Food insecurity can have non-financial impacts on students as well. University students need to perform well academically in order to pass their courses, and energy is needed to do so. When students go hungry, their ability to perform well in class decreases.

Food insecurity can affect the social and emotional health of students, this can later cause other issues such as poor mental and physical health.

The Saluki Food Pantry’s goal is to develop and sustain a food pantry on the SIU campus to serve food insecure students. The food pantry will provide an opportunity for SIU students to serve other students and engage in conversations and solutions around food insecurity.

“We care deeply about SIU students experiencing hunger and hold them in the center of all we do,” the pantry said.

Not only does the pantry supply food for students, it also provides means for students to gain skills such as grocery shopping, cooking, budgeting, gardening and nutrition, as well as making students aware of the additional resources available to them on campus and in the Carbondale community.

The pantry is set on ending food insecurity here at SIU.

In order to use the Saluki Food Pantry, students must complete a short survey. The information that the student must provide on the survey will only be seen by the staff responsible for the food pantry, and will be used for internal reporting.

The pantry is available to any current student with a valid SIU ID and there is no fee when utilizing the food pantry, all items are free to students.

In a visit to the Saluki Food Pantry, students are given enough food for each family member residing in their household to eat for approximately three days.

“We believe that no student should be hungry,” the pantry said.

The Saluki Food Pantry opened in August 2016, and since then it has served more than 2,500 students and their families.

Donations can be brought to the Saluki Food Pantry on the lower level of the Student Center during operating hours. After hours, donations can be taken to the Student Center Administration Office on the second floor of the SIU Student Center.

Students can also volunteer to work in the Saluki Food Pantry, assisting students with completing the survey and inventorying donations.

Creating a food secure campus is something the Saluki Food Pantry strives to do each and everyday, especially during the hard times of the holiday season. For more information about the Saluki Food Pantry, such as current operating hours, visit https://studentcenter.siu.edu/services/saluki-food-pantry.php

 

Reporter Joei Younker can be reached at [email protected]

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