Maine Voices: College students need to fill their stomachs to fuel their brains

Like many other Mainers with low-wage jobs, students are one unexpected expense away from having no money for food or rent.

Many college students who are struggling to escape poverty and pursue their career aspirations also face significant barriers to getting help accessing food, including stigma and lack of information about available assistance, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. According to HOPE Lab, only 26 percent of eligible food-insecure students at community colleges and 12 percent at universities receive SNAP benefits.

Without adequate financial aid and safety net programs, many students who come to college seeking to escape generational poverty end up standing in line at campus food pantries.

The USM food studies program recently hosted the 2019 Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit, bringing leading researchers and practitioners from across to the country to talk about college hunger; and the university and Preble Street are working together to raise awareness and advance solutions to this college hunger crisis.

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