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Carl Sandburg College food pantry helps fight food insecurity on campus

Food insecurity affects nearly half of college students nationwide, according to a Temple University study.

GALESBURG, Illinois -- Carl Sandburg College is fighting food insecurity on campus one day at a time, with the Resource Room Campus Food Pantry.

Food insecurity is the lack of consistent access to healthy, affordable food.

The food pantry is now partnered with the River Bend Food Bank, so instead of relying on donations from staff and students, the program is now consistently stocked with healthy food.

The resource room is open daily for students, and everything from frozen beef and chicken, to fresh produce and fruit snacks, is free.

Genny Stevens, coordinator of student life, says more than 150 students have used the pantry this semester, for a total of 636 visits. That means on average, each student has visited the pantry at least 4 times this semester.

"Food insecurity isn't poverty, it's not having a meal for the day, or week," Stevens says. "Maybe they don't have the funds to get groceries, but they have a test or paper, and they have to struggled through it and make it to that next payday to get food."

The pantry is run by student volunteers, who also shop in the food pantry.

"(Needing to use the pantry) is not a problem. People think you're poor or you're always needing something, and you don't want to be needy, but it's okay to come in and ask for help," Daryan Bryant, freshman volunteer, says.

Stevens says there is a great need for resources like this at the college, but also at universities across the country. 

"It's such a relief to have more money for rent, and more money to not have to stress about not having money, while you're in school," Olivia Hughes, freshman volunteer, says.

Each month, the River Bend Foodbank delivers hundreds of pounds of food to the pantry, and in between, the program visits the food bank facility in Davenport to restock.

The pantry still accepts donations -- anyone interested in helping out or learning more can email Stevens at pantry@sandburg.edu.

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