Auburn University Opens Food Bank for Students

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By Jessica Gertler

Alabama is called the second hungriest state in the country. In our area, one in four people say they didn't have enough money to buy food at some point in the last year. Even college students are going hungry. That's why one university is opening a campus food pantry.

Auburn University officials say they've noticed a growing number of students going to food banks in the area. That's when they say it was time to step in.

Hunger doesn't just affect the homeless and out-of-work. Some times those in need of food aren't who you'd expect.

"Rice. Pasta. Canned soups," says Tim King with Auburn University. "It's going just to Auburn students."

Auburn University is opening a campus food pantry that will provide students with non-perishable food.

King, who is heading up the efforts, says in the last several years, the number of students who are hungry has drastically risen.

"I think a lot of time it's that Auburn picturesque that you don't think someone has the need," he says.

Campus food pantries are a growing trend. More than 25 universities across the country offer them. Ten have opened up in the last year at schools including University of Georgia and University of Arkansas.

"It's tough. There's a lot of people. You don't necessarily know it looking at them, but people are struggling. People need help with food," says Auburn student Kiley Miller.

Students blame the rising cost of tuition topped with fees, books and living.

Plus, full-time students are typically ineligible to receive food stamps under federal programs.

"The cost of tuition rising. Food prices are rising. I will try to utilize [the food bank]," says student Nick Perry.

King says the pantry will be a confidential environment making sure every student feels comfortable asking for help.

"They may not be willing to express it, but to know the resource is there makes you excited about what we are doing," he says.

The campus food pantry will open in it's official space October 1, but the university is offering help until then.

If you would like to help out or if you need help, please contact King at timking@auburn.edu or Katherine Hettinger at  keh0018@auburn.edu.

King says the sororities in Panhellenic donated the food to kick start the program.

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