Struggling College Students Turn to Food Banks

Soaring cost of staples drive students to charity pantries
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2008 6:35 AM CDT
Struggling College Students Turn to Food Banks
Tiffany and Amy Tran bag groceries at the University District Food Bank in Seattle. In the past year, staples like milk and bread%u2014the core of a college diet%u2014have shot up by 30%.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

With some groceries costing 30% more this year, food banks have surprising new customers: college students. About 150 visit a Seattle food pantry each week, up 25% from last year, while a Denver college food program has seen its numbers double. "With things the way they are, a lot of students can't afford to eat," said a student who started the Facebook group, "I Ain't Afraid to be on Food Stamps."

Students can get food stamps if they qualify for a government work-study program, take job training, have a child under 12, or work part-time. But that disqualifies many in need, one expert said. A food pantry director said people are surprised that college students face such hardships. "There is a stereotype if they're in college they can afford to eat," he said. "But there are some students who have hardly any disposable income."
(Read more food prices stories.)

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