The 2014 Hunger in America report established that 1 in 7 people across the US depend on a Feeding America food relief center. 55% of them are between the ages of 16-59 and 1 in 10 is a student. The report also showed that there are some tough choices being made every day 69% of people have to choose between utilities and food, 66% choose between health and food, 57% choose between rent and food, and 39% choose between education and food.
According to the UC Undergraduate Experience Survey, 1 in every 5 UC Berkeley student self-reports having to “skip meals in order to save money” ranging from rarely to frequently. This is why for the last three years, we have been working really hard to institutionalize a comprehensive food security model: to work towards eliminating hunger on campus.
These efforts are being led by the first-of-its-kind UC Berkeley Food Security Committee made up of student, professional staff, faculty, and administrator leadership. The first phase of our model was to establish our committee and develop the emergency infrastructure that was needed to support students experiencing chronic food need. The emergency model includes two key efforts:
- The Food Assistance Program via our Financial Aid & Scholarships Office which provides real dollars to students who have maximized their financial aid packages and have additional need for food support.
- The UC Berkeley Food Pantry which is an emergency relief food supply for all students, graduate and undergraduate, and Berkeley staff members.