Stop Hunger Aids Food Pantry and Students on Campus

April 28, 2022

Written by Elaina Bonora, BUDS Editorial Intern
Each semester, Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) partners with Broome County CHOW (Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse) and the Binghamton University on-campus Food Pantry to provide a variety of food items to students and Broome County residents facing food insecurity through the week-long Stop Hunger Food Drive.
By definition, food insecurity refers to the lack of access to food, making it difficult for a person to live a nourished and healthy lifestyle. Contrary to popular belief, food insecurity is an extremely prevalent issue among college students. Assistant Director of Parent and Family Programs and Food Pantry Operations, Linda Salomons, spoke of this far-too-common misconception, stating:
“I think most people assume that college students have no issues around food insecurity because they think that if a student can go to college, then they must have money. This is incorrect as it fails to take into consideration that many students who attend college are able to do so with grants, loans and University support programs, that in most cases cover costs associated with tuition and books, not food or other basic necessities.”
Many students on our own campus are impacted by food insecurity, with 296 students utilizing the Food Pantry as of April 1, according to Salomons. The Covid-19 pandemic also had a significant impact upon increasing the number of people facing food insecurity. An international graduate student spoke about their own experiences with the Food Pantry saying:
“I discovered the Food Pantry at the beginning of the pandemic—which was the perfect timing for me to have done so. I was looking for an on-campus part-time job and it was becoming difficult to manage expenses, especially as an international student living off-campus with no income. When I found out about the Food Pantry, a lot of financial stress and burden was taken off of my shoulders and I was finally able to focus on my studies.” 
Pursuing an education at Binghamton University gives students the opportunity to gain an extensive amount of knowledge and opens a world of possibilities, but for students facing food insecurity, taking advantage of all that Binghamton has to offer and achieving academic goals is no longer at the forefront of their minds. Instead, a great deal of their attention is directed toward finding their next meal. 
Yaleza Fernandez, who is a student volunteer, noted that working with the Food Pantry made her realize “just how much of a difference one can truly make.” Fernandez also spoke of the impact that learning about the prevalence of food insecurity has had on her life:
“My passion for food insecurity stems from the fact that I believe that every person in this world should have access to food regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. I hope to create my own non-profit one day that aims to mitigate food insecurity through policy advocacy, direct impact, and equity advancement.”
Food insecurity is something that we can all work to minimize. This semester, the Stop Hunger Food Drive ran from March 28 to April 3 and helped to provide over 13,000 meals. We want to thank everyone who participated in the Stop Hunger Food Drive this semester and we are looking forward to aiding in the mitigation of food insecurity for years to come! 
If you want to support fellow Binghamton University students facing food insecurity, the Food Pantry is always accepting donations. Learn more about what you can do to help on the Food Pantry’s website.