Now more than ever college students are going to class very hungry and some are even winding up in the hospital.
There's a new trend popping up to make sure that doesn't happen.
More and more schools are adding food pantries to campus.
The folks who run food pantry at West Virginia University say no one should be ashamed of asking for help. Everything they have at The Rack is open to all students.
Organizers say since the economy is still wreaking havoc on most of our budgets they're seeing more and more students come knocking on their door.
"It's hard to fathom something as simple as not being able to afford to eat," Rack director, Jacqueline Dooley says. "It's unimaginable in the United States."
It's that reason that Dooley, and other folks at WVU, decided to do something about it.
Most folks 5 News spoke with on Thursday didn't even know the food pantry existed on campus.
Nestled away in a small hall of the school's student union stands the haven for those struggling to get enough food.
"When we began The Rack there was a stigma attached to being hungry," Dooley says. "Students were afraid to ask for assistance."
About once a month they get a truck load of supplies to stock the shelves with everything from potatoes to toothbrushes.
No student is ever turned away and that maybe a good thing because now the demand for what they offer is at an all time high.
"There are reduced lunches in elementary school and middle school," Dooley says. "When a student is enrolled in college there financial situation hasn't changed."
Everything they have is free and for Pamela Gaiting, a mother of three college students, knowing that what they do is growing trend helps to ease her motherly nerves.
"Everyday it's a struggle to eat," Gaitling says. "It's a struggle to purchase books, purchase your daily needs. To know that you can go somewhere and have a good meal, you can rest comfortably."
Iowa State and Oregon State are just two other examples of a growing list of schools that have a food pantry on campus.
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Apr 28, 2012 at 2:38 AM
The Rack at WVU is a very worthwhile program. Regardless, how the students outer appearance strikes one. There are truly students suffering behind hunger. If you would have heard the praise testimony from a student attending WVU who's family is living in WV well below the proverty line. This student's parents were not supportive of the student's disire to attend an institution of Higher Education. This indivual was told by her parents college was not an option. During the testimony of this individual, the family did not have in-house plumbing. This family was utilizing an out-house. Can you imagine this in the 21st Century? This individual beat the bushes to seek assistance, in order to accomplish the goal to attend college. This individual is now preparing for graduation after four years of learning to become a great assest to WV. You would not speak ill toward the Rack program WVU is offering to assist students in their success for the future. Regardless whether it's your child or my child who comes from the higher upper class family. There are those students from disadvantage household who possess the appitude to make a difference in their lives, yet without parental finacial support or scholarships. Those individuals deserve assistance from WVU by any mean necessary. The Rack serves all students needing assistance when their finacial situation is in dire straights.
Your two students are most welcomed to visit the Rack should the have a need. You really shouldn't speak of issues reflecting one's personal finances. You truly have no clue when judging one upon your observance on one's outward appearance. It's sad to read your words indicating the story "approaches the absurd". The Rack Food Bank for WVU is not just a story, it's the reality.
People really need to recognize the reality. Hunger exists among our college age students! Tax payers are not paying for this program.
Let remove the people from Welfare who are costing taxing payers big bucks. We have able mature indivdual that can work, but, sit on their hind parts, doing nothing, yet, they are collecting tax payers money in welfare assistance. Give these college students a break. The retention rate has increased at WVU.
Apr 27, 2012 at 9:11 AM
This story approaches the absurd. Ihave two students at WVU. I have heard the stories for over five years, as one is a Masters student.A majority of the students come from upper class families and most drive newer vehicles. A majority have piercings/tatoos,cable TV, iphones etc. to adnausium. I sincerly doubt ANY of these students are STARVING due to lack of,or access to food. The foreign students, on the whole,obviouslycome from well to do families. This story is just that, A STORY.Just another program that will one day take tax money to fund.