The Student Government Association’s pilot run of a food pantry exclusively for Youngstown State University students in need is a move in the right direction for the university.
YSU is a school that many find themselves going to because of its affordability. That doesn’t mean that living on one’s own as a student at an inexpensive university is necessarily inexpensive, especially for those who may be inexperienced handling their own finances.
For students, this is their first venture away from home and their first time managing their own money. Factoring in school loan payments, the cost of books, possible car payments or rent and other expenses, students can find themselves unable to purchase nutritious food on their own.
This doesn’t mean that they won’t ever be able to purchase wholesome food in their collegiate career, but it can be more difficult than usual at times to fill up the shelves in their first apartment or home.
SGA’s food pantry allows these students to pick up free, nutritious food by using their YSU ID. Students will acquire the food in a discreet location and will be carrying the food in bags donated from YSU’s bookstore. SGA said their goal was to make this process as simple and anonymous as possible.
Students that visit the pantry often will be given information about specific community or government assistance plans to further help put food on the table.
This pantry, even in its early stages, is a huge success for the university.
According to the 2014 US Census Bureau, Youngstown has a poverty rate of over 37.4 percent and only 11.5 percent of those who reside in Youngstown over the age of 25 have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
The pantry allows students that are trying to better themselves in less than perfect circumstances get assistance with an added veil of secrecy, something that many other food services in the area don’t offer to the degree that this pantry does.
Students that are trying to obtain a degree need to worry about passing classes, not picking up an extra shift at work as a way to make sure they eat that week.
If YSU can help in any way to get students to graduate, even if it’s as simple as supplying food while they’re working on bettering themselves, it’s a win.
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