BOSTON – Tuesday, November 25, 2014 -- Nineteen of Massachusetts’ 29 public college and university campuses have opened food pantries or have begun to distribute food to hungry students who in some cases are choosing between paying educational expenses and buying food, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) reported today.
A recent informal survey of statewide student support services conducted by the DHE shows that the number of campus-based food pantries, including those operated by student organizations or clubs, has grown to twelve in recent years, with seven additional campuses providing a variety of services to address food insecurity, such as vouchers for cafeteria meals and food drives to aid students and their families.
“There is a long history of Massachusetts public college and university students being civically engaged in hunger relief efforts in their communities, especially during the holiday season," said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education. "Now we see that growing numbers of students themselves are in need of assistance. This has troubling implications, especially at a time when we are redoubling our efforts to boost graduation rates and fill the so-called 'talent pipeline.' We cannot expect students to perform well in their studies and to graduate in a timely fashion if they are going hungry."
Photo courtesy J.W. Lynch / Massasoit Community College