Students Sow the Seeds of Food Security at #OhioState

Every person in America is aware of the growing costs of college tuition. It’s a common topic of political, social, and economic discussions. What many people are likely unaware of is exactly how much those costs have grown over time. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition and fees have doubled in the last 30 years[1]. Those figures also do not take into the astronomical increase in textbook costs, up 1,041 percent since 1977 according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics[2]. With those massive financial undertakings now being forced upon the shoulders of college students, is it any surprise then that some students are struggling to afford feeding themselves?

When a few roommates and I learned about the growing issue of food insecurity on college campuses we immediately had a couple of big questions: 1) Is this a problem at Ohio State? and 2) If so, is something being done about it?

The answers we found were that, yes, it is an issue at OSU – 15 percent of students self-report low food security –, and there was nothing currently being done about it.

Thus, we created Buckeye Food Alliance in April 2014. We intended to start a food pantry specifically for students in need. Ideally, this would be a more convenient and more beneficial way to help those individuals, rather than having them go to another local food pantry.

Over the next two years; we worked closely with university administrators and faculty to determine the best way to bring this to fruition, sought advice and information from established food banks and pantries in the region, gained non-profit status from the IRS, and became one of many on the growing list of members of the College and University Food Bank Alliance.

All of the time, effort, and hard work has more than been worth it in seeing this project, once just an idea that five college kids had, turn into something real. The BFA food pantry officially opened its doors Wednesday, March 30th. In that short time, it has been immensely rewarding to provide help to those students in need, and even more rewarding to see the immense amount of support that the Ohio State and Columbus communities have given to our organization. In the past two weeks alone, we have received more than $1,000 in monetary and non-perishable food donations.

We look forward to being able to serve students in need for many years to come.

For those in need of BFA’s services: The food pantry is located in Suite 150 of Lincoln Tower and is open 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as well as Sundays 5-8 p.m.

For those looking to support our organization or to learn more about it, instructions on how to donate and our contact information can be found on our website: www.buckeyefoodalliance.org.

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(Photo courtesy of  northjersey.com)

About the author: Alec Admonius is the treasurer and a co-founder of Buckeye Food Alliance. He is a third-year student majoring in Economics and Strategic Communication in the College of Arts & Sciences at The Ohio State University.

[1] Adjusted for inflation. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76

[2] Not adjusted for inflation. http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/freshman-year/college-textbook-prices-have-risen-812-percent-1978-n399926

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