FAU opens food pantry for 'hidden hungry'

Posted at 9:48 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 05:28:42-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. - The stereotype of college students eating ramen noodles to survive may not be far off base.

Many schools have found their students don't know where they'll get their next meal.

Florida Atlantic University is now joining a growing list of schools to offer students food assistance on campus.

College life is about what you'd expect for Justin Mahone. The FAU freshman goes to class, lives on campus, and eats at the dining hall. He has a meal plan which pays for most of his meals.

But many non-traditional students, like commuters, don't have meal plans and studies show a lot of them have to choose between buying food or paying rent.

"Some of them have outside lives which require them to feed multiple mouths and you never know what kind of situation they're in," Mahone explains.

They're called the "hidden hungry," people you wouldn't assume need help.

"We do see a growing need for students in terms of food and shelter, and things of that nature," explains Dr. Corey King, FAU's VP of Student Affairs.

He says the student government association approached his office with the idea of opening a food pantry on campus.

With the help of Boca Helping Hands, a food pantry in Boca Raton, FAU opened its pantry this month.

If a student needs help, the school can give them a three-day emergency pack.

Once a student asks for help, King says the university starts looking at ways to make the student successful long term.

"We meet with the student to find out how they found themselves in this situation. And what plan can we put in place to help them get immediate assistance, and long term how do we move beyond this," he explains.
The pantry runs strictly on donations.

The school will connect students with providers like Boca Helping Hands if they need more help than the school's pantry can provide.