Hungry students at California State University, Long Beach, will receive food from classmates with the annual Feed a Need Spring Drive.
The program allows students with meal plans to donate meals to food-insecure students. Last weekend, the drive ended with 1,005 meals donated, or about 40% of the school's residential students donating.
"With the Forty-Niner Shops’ donation included, we will have 1,305 meals available for students in need,” vice president for student affairs Carmen Taylor said in a statement. “I am always impressed by the generosity and spirit of our students. Their willingness to help their fellow students in need is truly admirable. We are one family here at The Beach.”
The results were announced the same time the chancellor's office released a study on homelessness, low and very low food security among the 23 CSU campuses. Dr. Rashida Crutchfield's (CSULB) and Dr. Jennifer Maguire's (Humboldt State University) research showed that 41.6% of CSU students and 37.7% of CSULB students reported food insecurity. The study was the second phase of the CSU examining food and housing security/basic needs and was part of a systemwide report presented at Sacramento State University.
"Unfortunately, it wasn't surprising," Rashida said of the findings, as they were consistent to the first phase. "We seem to have this message that the starving student is a right of passage."
Rashida added there is a lot of unnecessary pain and struggle for many getting degrees.
"Right now, we have a sense that there might be as many as one in four students who are experiencing food insecurity and one in 10 students who are experiencing homelessness in some way," Crutchfield said in a CSULB video.
Rashida also said she was glad the CSU was trying to help those in need, and the the study's third phase will explore ways schools can continue and add support.
CSULB implemented the Basic Needs Initiative in March 2015, a program offering services to address food insecurity and housing among students. The ASI Beach Pantry, CalFresh Outreach Program, the Student Emergency Intervention and Wellness Program, and Beach Bites, are part of the initiative.
The pantry has food, toiletries and school supplies for all students, the CalFresh program is the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the emergency intervention helps students having an emergency crisis situation, and Beach Bites is a mobile app for iOS and Android devices, alerting them to available food from on-campus events.
For more information and to donate, visit web.csulb.edu/divisions/students/studentdean/emergency_grant.
Emily Thornton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.