While most Americans will be grateful for second and third helpings this Thanksgiving, there's one surprising group who struggle to find a first helping every day: students at some of the nation's top universities, NBC News reports.
“I can’t go to the grocery store to buy breakfast because if I use this money I’m not going to be able to use it for something else like dinner or lunch,” said Damian Hernandez, 24, who graduated from Columbia University earlier this year.
Hernandez, who is from Chicago, was one of thousands of students who are considered food insecure, meaning they don’t always know where their next meal is coming from, or if it’s coming at all. With the high cost of tuition, living and meal plans, food insecurity on college campuses poses a real threat to student livelihood, especially those who are low income and lack access to government assistance programs.
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Researchers from Temple University surveyed 86,000 students from over 100 institutions, primarily at public universities and community colleges, and 17 percent said they had been homeless within the past year while 45 percent said they had been food insecure in the past 30 days.
According to data from the College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFA), 30 percent of college students are food insecure.