COLUMN: I am hungry for more


Rob Le Cates

Katja Benz is a senior English major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Katja Benz, Columnist

Over the summer, I interviewed a woman by the name of Cassandra Livermore. She lives in Coles County and as of June 16, she shared a vehicle with her husband and lived in a house that was on a single income.

Livermore, at the time, was concerned about choosing to pay for a full tank or to pay for another bill.

“I might not be able to afford one of our bills or something as easily because we’re also on single income,” Livermore said.

While she is a mother with a husband and two children, that was still stressful. She couldn’t go or do things that she needed to do with a car without being able to afford gas.

“It makes it where I can’t travel places that I would normally be able to go to,” Livermore said. “Being able to even visit my mom in the town over (is hard because) I have to think about whether or not I can afford to do that.”

This is the same with food insecurity and college students. Some college students, like myself, may not have access to healthy food, quality transportation, or other resources to be successful in school, socially, or otherwise.

I know there are two food pantries here on campus: one in Klehm Hall on the first floor and the other in 1347 McAfee. However, the one in Klehm Hall is very bare bones: there’s books and more snack type foods more than anything.

While I have never been in the food pantry in 1347 McAfee, I have seen a little bit, as much as I can see when the sunlight peeks through over the summer. There seemed to be more in this food pantry, but there was a lot of empty floor space as well.

It wasn’t open either, and this semester’s hours aren’t great. It is only open for ten hours and it is not open on the weekends.

“It will be open the following days and times when classes are in session: Fall 2022 hours: Monday 1:30-3:30pm, Tuesday 3-5pm, Wednesday 1:30-3:30pm, Thursday 2-4pm, and Friday 2-4pm,” the McAfee food pantry website said.

How are students supposed to get food if one food pantry is bare bones and the other is only open ten hours a week? While I have secure access to food through my meal plan, what if I didn’t live on campus and couldn’t afford groceries? Are students supposed to starve if they simply cannot afford groceries or to live on-campus with a meal plan?

I would hope not. Please support students, we need you. We need better access to food, highly nutritious food, food variety, and balanced meals.

Without any of those things, how can students be all in on school? They can’t- even though they should be.

Katja Benz is a senior English major. She can reached at [email protected] 217-581-2812.