Challah for Hunger has launched “Campus Hunger Project” – a national advocacy and research project. In its first year, the “Campus Hunger Project” will train 80 student volunteers from 40 U.S. colleges to research the growing problem of food insecurity on campus and to investigate how administrations are addressing the growing problem.
The Campus Hunger Project is a collaboration between Challah for Hunger and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. While several universities and colleges have recognized food insecurity as a growing problem, few, if any, institutions have sought to understand the scope of this issue – or to recommend long-term solutions.
“The issue of hunger on college campuses is one that is hidden in plain sight – and since college is so expensive, people tend to assume that students can afford healthy meals,” said Carly Zimmerman, CEO of Challah for Hunger, which has worked with college students on hunger advocacy and education for 12 years. “The cliche of the college student who survives by eating ramen is becoming more and more of a reality.”
As college tuition costs continue to rise, an increasing number of students cannot afford adequate housing and sufficiently nutritious food. More than 56,000 college students identify as homeless on their financial aid applications and one out of every seven students visited a food bank last year. One in five students enrolled in the City University of New York system reported having to choose between buying books and food last year.
“Food insecurity on campus is a hidden health crisis that we intend to address through research and advocacy with the Campus Hunger Project,” added Zimmerman. “We believe that if you work hard and are accepted to college, you shouldn’t have to forfeit basic rights to food, shelter, and safety to pursue a higher education.”
The national initiative was announced at the Challah for Hunger Leadership Summit at West Chester University. The summit is a three-day conference gathering more than 100 students, alumni and partners.