Food insecurity threatens the mental, physical health of college students – The Sunflower

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Many students who choose to stay on or around campus during winter break will soon face new, less obvious problems. It’s food insecurity.

A 2019 study estimated that 34-59% Three college students in Kansas are experiencing food insecurity, and the numbers have already added to many year-end stressors. Nearly 10% of Kansasians suffer from food insecuritydisproportionate rates continue to increase among college student populations.

Wichita State Campus Inside and around some food desserts — Low-income neighborhoods with limited access to healthy, accessible food — Shocker Support Lockers help hundreds of students suffering from food-related struggles. Pantry offers up to 20 weeks of credit. Food, Clothing, Toiletries, Baby Products, Family Products,free To students, faculty and staff in need.

For international exchange students like Sai Sri Raj Nalam who frequents The Shocker Support Locker, finding ways to obtain and find more expensive and less accessible food can already add to the culture shock and academic stress. It’s an additional challenge.

“I was a little disappointed because there is no grocery store…not only available on campus, but also near campus,” Naram said.

Even finding the time, money and transportation needed to get to the grocery store is a challenge for Naram.

“You have to manage everything at the same time. If you have classes, you have to miss classes,” Naram said.

Often, limited access proves to be too much, and Nallam has to settle for calorie-poor alternatives.

“When I have that situation… if I have bread, I eat bread, if I have milk, I drink milk,” said Naram. “That’s how I manage.”

Shocker Support Locker is seeing an unprecedented number of students seeking free meals during the Fall 2022 term.

Cailtin Nolen, the locker’s student advocacy coordinator, and her four student employees found it difficult to keep their shelves stocked. Nolen says food is a problem he can’t solve with just one food bank, but Locker is a positive step in the right direction.

“With the Shocker Support Locker, we can’t solve food insecurity, but we can definitely put a dent in helping people on campus,” says Nolen.

Locker primarily relies on donations from local food banks and community partners, including Kansas Food Bank, Chartwells Dining, and United Way of the Plains. However, donation deliveries are often made on Mondays, and items that arrived in lockers early in the week are gone by Wednesday, leaving students who can’t arrive early with little to nothing.

“On the day we restock, there are about 60 people waiting outside the hall. Grover said.

Rising prices are also putting a strain on lockers. Nolen found that in a year’s time, at $8 she ordered 24 cans of peaches, at $30 she ordered 12 cans. These price spikes make it difficult to financially support lockers throughout the academic year.

“We can only get so much money….We have to allocate a year and if we keep spending all that money, we won’t have any money to offer students for the second semester,” Nolen said. increase. “It is very difficult to meet the needs of many students.”

Nolen and her employees fear that constant food insecurity could have a negative impact not only on the physical health of students, but also on their mental and emotional health. National Library of Medicinefood insecurity among college students directly contributes to increased rates of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and self-harm.

“If you’re worried about not being able to eat food, you don’t like worrying about classes or having fun, it can really ease your mood and anxiety.

Many Shocker Support Rocker regulars like Naram share the same opinion.

“If I eat good food and have a good stomach, I can concentrate more in class,” said Naram.

To combat food insecurity on and off campus, Nolen and her employees will help community members, Wichita State University students, faculty and staff provide when they need it and eradicate food insecurity. We encourage you to publicly promote and support organizations that work for you.

Whether you’re reposting a flyer for an upcoming food drive or taking time out to volunteer at your local food bank, your donation or service will help every Wichita belly access essential nutritious food. We are one step closer to making it possible.

Individuals interested in giving back to their communities can volunteer or donate money or groceries to local food banks and organizations that have pledged to end food insecurity. Daily Bread Food Pantry, Kansas Food Bank, His Helping Hands Food Pantryor food banks and pantries listed in

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