Despite pouring rain on a chilly November day, more than 1,200 Baylor students and staff lined up outside Moody Library and patiently waited their turn to fill bags with 47,000 pounds of watermelon, grapefruit, eggs, breads, pastries, and other foods. Most left drenched but loaded down with food that would refill empty refrigerators in dorm rooms and off-campus apartments.
What organizers called the Baylor Free Farmers Market was an effort by a working group of Baylor faculty and staff to leverage local resources to address the issue of student hunger on campus and to raise consciousness about the problem to Baylor stakeholders.
“Food insecurity” is an awkward word devised by the federal government to reflect that reality of families that face barriers to having three healthy meals per day, seven days per week. National statistics indicate that up to 25 percent of students are food insecure, and the problem is more prevalent at community colleges and four-year public universities.
But Baylor professor Nathan Alleman and doctoral student Cara Cliburn Allen, MSED ’15, are looking into whether the problem also extends to a school where families choose to pay more than $50,000 per year. They surveyed some potentially vulnerable (at-risk) Baylor students last fall and found that half of the 300 respondents expressed some degree of food insecurity. And that led them to create the Baylor Food Insecurity Working Group.
This issue is addressed in the Spring 2017 issue of the Baylor Line. To learn more — and to see the university’s response — you can read more here