On top of the stress from classes, work and life responsibilities, the burden of hunger weighs heavily on college students.
Students, like many people experiencing food insecurity, also face the social stigma around asking for help.
Jasmine Rosa, a student at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, said she understands the struggles students face in meeting their basic needs while balancing other financial demands like paying for tuition.
As the president of IDEAL Women, Rosa wants to support students in not only surviving but thriving during their college years. IDEAL Women, standing for Intelligent, Dignified, Elegant, Ambitious Leaders, elevates women in leadership by creating a support network.
Amongst the community and amongst ourselves, were going to help each other out, Rosa said.
With the support of Charolette Tidwell and Antioch for Youth & Family, student leaders gathered at the Dave Stevens Lion Pride Pantry, where they handed out frozen chicken nuggets, salmon, fresh produce, bags of potatoes and boxes of dry goods, including snacks.
“I am excited the two student groups have two primary goals: spreading healthy eating lifestyles and removing the stigma of receiving,” said Tidwell, the founder and director of Antioch for Youth & Family, in a statement.
Glenn Brewer II, the president of Men of Excellence said the organizations want to address food insecurity by lessening the stigma around a critical need.
“Its something that a lot of people are embarrassed about doing,” Brewer II said. ” You should never be embarrassed about something you need.
Just like peer pressure, Brewer II said students may feel uncomfortable asking for help with food if it is the focal point of a campus event.
The partnership between Antioch, IDEAL Women and the Men of Excellence takes a different approach to reduce social stigma around hunger by not making it the central focus.
IDEAL Women and Men of Excellence plan to continue hosting these kinds of events, working with Antioch to support the campus community.
“Everybody has a problem with juggling work and school, said Gabriel Racher, the parliamentarian for Men of Excellence. It was kind of the thing where if we could get a box of food that would save us $50 to $100 a week, thats a lot, especially as a college student.