A surprising number of college students live with food insecurity, which means they don’t have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. According to the 2018 Hunger on Campus Report from the National Student Campaign Against Hunger & Homelessness, one in four students face food insecurity and of those that did, approximately 25% of students reported they dropped a course because of hunger-related stress. This problem has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic with a Chegg.org
survey that showed nearly one-third of students reporting that they have experienced food insecurity during the pandemic. Food insecurity has many impacts on a student. Poor nutrition puts students at risk for serious health problems. Students who are food insecure report having to skip meals so they can shift budget resources to pay for other needs such as medical bills or course material. Hunger can also affect a student’s ability to focus and halt academic progress. This issue is not restricted to students who
live on campus as we have seen demand from both residential and commuter students.
who we are
Support-A-Bull Market is a St. Petersburg campus food pantry resource that grew out of a student-driven initiative to address the impact of food insecurity on our student body. The market seeks to address food insecurity by providing emergency food assistance to students in need and collaborates with the Office of Student Outreach & Support to help students addressing barriers related to food insecurity issues. The Support-A-Bull Market has proved to be a vital resource on our campus. It has served 203 students and distributed 4,275 pounds of food. Additionally, they provided 347 pounds of dog and cat food to students thanks to our partnership with SPCA Tampa Bay.
Support from our donors to the Support-A-Bull Market provides a valuable resource for our food insecure students. It is not just the resources made available through the market that students receive that matters, it is also the knowledge that there is truly a community that cares about and supports their success. We want all of our students to succeed, and we need our donors' help to make sure ALL students have nutritious food and personal items available to them to be successful in their academic pursuits.
what your gifts will do
With your gift of any amount we can increase the impact that the Support-A-Bull Market has on our students. Currently our market is taking online requests from students to reduce having excess people in the pantry space. However, we require the assistance of staff to package the food items to be picked up by students. With the pandemic an increase in need also means we need more staff to fulfill orders. Your gift will help us to hire students who can safely assemble requested items into to-go bags. This increases our ability to meet the needs of students in a timely manner and reduces the burden on any one person to assemble these to-go bags.
Your gift also helps as the market works to upgrade its inventory system into a modern, real-time system that will alert students to the actual count of available items in the pantry at any given time. This reduces the guessing game of what is actually available for students and reduces the need for item substitution.
Your gift makes it possible for us to acquire additional items for our pantry: hygiene products and other personal products. If students have to decide if they can afford to purchase food items, they also have those same challenges in purchasing daily hygiene items and even food for their pets. The impacts of food security are many, from better nutrition and mental health to improved focus in class and higher GPAs. Your gift to support food security will help our students achieve their educational goals.
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