Most college students are already on a tight budget when it comes to buying food, but for some, the struggle to afford their next meal is a serious concern. On Wednesday, Buckeye Food Alliance opened a food pantry on Ohio State’s campus in order to combat the growing issue of food insecurity on college campuses.
BFA was founded two years ago after five roommates began researching ways to fight hunger on campus. Through partnerships with the university, BFA opened the doors to its food pantry, located in Suite 150 of Lincoln Tower on West Campus.
Dave Isaacs, spokesman for the Office of Student Life, said 15 percent of OSU students self-reported having low food security in a 2014 National Student Financial Wellness Study.
Thomas Rosenberger, co-founder of BFA, said it is a community effort to help these students in need and keep the pantry stocked.
“(Donated food) comes from a lot of places. We’ve had residence halls run food drives for us, we’re working with local churches to run food drives, so it’s really a community effort to bring food in,” the fourth-year in marketing and economics said.
Alec Admonius, treasurer and co-founder of BFA, said this is an issue that is visible on every college campus, not just OSU.
“I think it’s important for this to be available to students, not just at OSU but at every college, just because tuition is so expensive everywhere,” the third-year in economics and strategic communication said. “This is not just an OSU issue, it’s a nationwide issue. This affects not only someone’s daily life but also someone’s actual ability to achieve in school.”
The pantry offers nonperishable food items to students who show their BuckID and do not have the Unlimited or Scarlet 14 meal plans. It is open from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sundays and from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Logan Phares, a third-year in public affairs, said she believes that BFA is one of “the most important student-led initiatives in a long time.”
“I was able to meet with the founders of this organization, and I was very impressed by their passion for this issue and the initiative that they took to get this program started,” Phares said. “I would encourage anyone who has the ability to donate and volunteer with the pantry and anyone who is struggling to afford healthy food options to take advantage of the program.”
Rosenberger said the group has looked to Michigan State University’s food pantry as a guide in forming OSU’s. MSU has the oldest food pantry on a college campus at around 30 years old, he said. The pantry distributes about $100,000 of food every year and helps about 400 people each month. Rosenberger said his goal is to hit similar numbers.
“This cause is really all about helping out your fellow Buckeyes,” Rosenberger said. “With rising cost of tuition, books or a whole host of issues, it sometimes becomes more difficult for students who don’t necessarily have as much financial support.”