Forget boxed lunches, at Eastern Washington University they're getting boxes of food.
“It became a joke to be a hungry college student,” said Kayla Martinez who works for AmeriCorps Vista. “But it ignores the reality of what it means to be hungry and be pursuing a degree.”
According to the Department of Health and Wellness, 33-percent of EWU students have run out of food at some point and 36-percent have worried about where their next meal will come from.
That's double the average of U.S. households that are food insecure.
“We are in class for the majority of the day,” said Martinez. “If you're wondering where your next food is coming from you're not putting all your focus toward your degree.”
So, Martinez saw an opportunity to solve a problem and started a food pantry cabinet system.
“We're going to have six locations around campus that will have food for students,” said Martinez.
The idea is to end hunger at EWU.
The pantries are supported by Second Harvest and the Dairy Farmers of Washington and are available to students to take what they need, when they need it.
“We're really low-barrier,” said Martinez. “We don't want to put up anything between the food and the students so they’re open during the business hours of the building they’re located in and they're accessible just by opening the cabinets and getting what you can use.”
You can also drop off food at Showalter Hall Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.