More students seeking food banks for help

Posted at 6:14 AM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-30 21:53:33-05

When you think of people who need to use food stamps or food pantries, a college student might not be the first group who comes to mind.

But many find themselves in need with the increase in the cost of living.

Keiser University student Taehler Piercy says she has 40 hours of nursing school clinicals a week, stacks of books to study and barely enough to make ends meet.
"With that crazy schedule, part-time jobs don't go for that," said Piercy.

But Piercy says that's her reality.  She squeezes in baby sitting and gives swim lessons just to get by while putting herself through school.

"That only makes $150 to $200 a month.  That's just not a lot to put food on the table," said Piercy.

She’s not the only student in this predicament.

Ruth Mageria of CROS Ministries says she's seeing an increase of college students at local food banks,

A recent Masters-degree candidate told Mageria that she just ran out of food options.

"She's doing everything she needs to do to live the American dream, but right now it's just not enough," said Mageria.

Right now there's no way to track the amount of college students that come and visit the CROS food pantry in Lake Worth. 

But the ministry says out of the more than 100 people that visit the pantry daily, they've seen plenty of young people.

Piercy said she has also been denied eligibility for food stamps.

About 12,200 other Florida college students were denied food assistance since April 2014, according to the Department of Children and Families.

This is making food pantries more of a necessity to bridge the gap.

"I’m not trying to take advantage of the system, or anything else, but strictly use it for its purpose," said Piercy.

It’s something Mageria says is welcome at the food pantries she helps run.

"People coming in for services, for food, they are us.  They're our neighbors.  They're our brothers. They're our sisters," said Mageria.

It’s part of a growing group in need of a helping hand to finish their college dream.