Brody dining hall on Michigan State’s campus is the largest non-military cafeteria in the world. There are also 20 Sparty’s and eight other cafeterias on campus. However, with all these resources, you wouldn’t expect students going hungry.
“What we found was that 4.4% of MSU students are in the low to very low food security category, which means that there eating pattern may become disrupted because of lack of sufficient resources for food,” said Anne Buffington, nutrition programs coordinator.
Dennis Martell, health promotion department director, said that the food bank was opened in 1993 because the faculty and staff realized there were students who were food insecure.
“At that time nobody would even think that a student couldn’t afford to have money for food,” said Martell.
This year the MSU Food Bank has hit a milestone. The food bank celebrates 25 years of tackling food insecurities by feeding more than 6,000 clients a year with options like protein, produce and canned goods.
“It wasn’t really institutionally supported back then, but then the institution came along and said, you know what, what do we need to help make students academically successful,” said Martell.
Now, with the help of a grant, research will be able to determine the prevalence of food insecurity among students at MSU.
“I started getting more involved with the food bank when we got a grant funded research project, we are calling it “Nourishing Success.” It was research we wanted to do to figure out the prevalence of food insecurity on campus, and also explore the relationship between food insecurity and academic success,” said Buffington.
Martell says there is nothing worse than having hunger if you are trying to study, learn and be educated.
“Hunger is one of the basic impediments of academic success,” said Martell.
The food bank is working hard to fight the stigma that comes a long with a food bank.
“We want to obviously increase education and the awareness of the food bank and its resources. We also want to reduce stigma, so students can feel free to utilize the food bank in order to help take better care of themselves with food,” said Buffington.