Students in the hunger studies capstone course presented their plan to help solve hunger insecurity on Auburn’s campus on Nov. 10 in the student center.
"We pride ourselves on being The Auburn Family, and food is one of the basic needs we have, so we should make sure students have the resources to keep themselves fed," said Kate Thornton, director of academic and research initiatives in the college of human sciences.
According to Tessa Voss, senior in global studies, they implemented an app this semester called “Share Meals” on Auburn’s campus, which aims to connect hungry students to free food opportunities around campus and de-stigmatize food assistance.
Voss said the app can also benefit clubs and student organizations that offer free food to incentivize students to join.
Thornton said food-insecure students either decreased the quality of their food — she said one student mixed flour and water to eat because it was cheaper than bread — or decreased the quantity of food they ate.
Thornton said 27 percent of Auburn students were considered to be food-insecure this year. She added that other campuses reported anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of their students were food-insecure.
She said the students in the gap in between Pell-grant eligible students and those who can afford to have nutritional meals are the most vulnerable to food-insecurity.
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According to Thornton, students who are very food-insecure are not taking part in programs like the Campus Kitchens project because they didn’t think they were “that bad yet.” She said this is due to an idea of students that they have to be self-sufficient in order to be successful and find an identity.
She said this is why she loves the Share Meals app.
“It’s not ‘are you hungry,’ it’s ‘hey do you want to find free food on campus,’ like it’s a normal thing to use,” Thornton said. “You don’t have to self-identify as ‘I’m a hungry student so I’m coming only to this event.’”
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