You’re helping hungry college students make the grade

Hunger on college campuses is a hidden issue that Second Harvest is working hard to address. Many students struggle to afford groceries, whether they’re relying on a work-study job or facing unexpected expenses.

Thanks to the support of people like you, many local college students can focus on their studies, and not have to make the difficult choice between food and rent, childcare, or tuition.

Delgado Community College has grown a closet-sized food pantry into a full-service student center. Single Stop Director Gilda Ebanks says it all started in 2015 when she noticed many students were facing hunger, but didn’t know how to go about getting help.

“We reached out to Second Harvest, and they came out right away to help assess how best to help,” Ebanks said.

“Within a couple of weeks, we had a fully-stocked pantry, full of food donated to Second Harvest.”

The University of Louisiana-Lafayette recently opened a similar pantry. The ULL Campus Cupboard, supported by your donations to Second Harvest, serves students needing short-term  help with groceries.

Dr. Pearson Cross, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at ULL, says the pantry is designed to quickly get help to students in need. “At the outset, we hope to provide five or six items per person that will make it easier for them to get through a day or two,” Cross said. “We’ll then refer them to a larger pantry such as Second Harvest.”

After their initial pantry launch at Delgado, Ebanks says she was astounded at the problem of hunger on their campus. “I was really blown away. We worked nonstop open to close.”

This small pantry became the cornerstone of a much larger student service center named “One Stop.” Now, students can get not only food, but assistance with legal services, utility bills, mental health support, and financial literacy and counseling.

“The really beautiful thing is that many students who got short-term food assistance from us later hold their own food drives, and volunteer in our center. And it all started with a phone call to Second Harvest. We could not have done this without them.”

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