Food Security at ISU
Food security is the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or the ability to acquire such foods in a socially acceptable manner. National data indicates that one third of college students are food and/or housing insecure (read the entire report here). Data from the 2019 implementation of the National College Health Association (NCHA) on ISU’s campus indicates 24% of ISU students are food insecure (view the executive summary here). Food security is typically measured by asking these two questions from the Hunger Vital Sign screening tool:
– Within the past 12 months, I worried whether my food would run out before I got money to buy more.
– Within the past 12 months, the food I bought just didn’t list and I didn’t have money to get more.
Listed below are resources for ISU students struggling with food access.
Student Food Pantry
Students Helping Our Peers (SHOP) is a student-run, on-campus food pantry. It was created in 2011 when a group of students in the Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) were approached by ISU Dining about the possibility of opening a campus food pantry. SHOP’s vision is to alleviate food insecurity while collaborating with Iowa State University and the Ames Community. SHOP’s mission is to serve the student population and the Ames community by increasing hunger awareness and food security. Donations from individuals, campus organizations, the community, and an ISU Foundation account keep food on the shelves of the pantry. SHOP has expanded from their current location to include satellite food pantries near on campus housing such as Schilletter and University Village apartments and Frederickson Court, as well as in west Ames in near off-campus student apartments.
SHOP’s executive board creates a plan each year that outlines opportunities, challenges, and goals for the organization, and volunteers are the driving force behind SHOP’s success, along with their staff advisor. SHOP’s volunteers and board members are from a variety of majors, which adds diversity of perspective and talent to the student organization. To learn more about SHOP, including hours of operation and volunteer opportunities, visit SHOP’s website or Facebook page.
Food Security Workgroup
The Food Security Workgroup was established in 2018 to review data, identify needs, inventory resources on campus and in the community, and support existing efforts. Members of the workgroup include representatives from SHOP, Student Wellness, Department of Residence, ISU Dining, FSHN, Student Assistance Office, and the ISU Foundation. A comprehensive review of university-based programs that promote food security was divided into no/low cost, moderate cost, and high cost categories. The workgroup is also in regular contact with universities from around the country to share ideas. Through the efforts of the Workgroup, the Give A Swipe program was established with ISU Dining, which connects students to resources and provides meals to students in urgent need.
In addition to campus resources, the Ames community has a variety of resources for food access. Food at First is a community food pantry that offers an evening meal in addition to a market. Their hours of operation and location can be found here and if you aren’t within walking distance or don’t have a car, you can take CyRide to the food pantry. You can also call The National Hunger Hotline to find emergency food providers in the community, government assistance programs, and various social services. The hotline can be reached Monday through Friday by calling 1-866-3-HUNGRY.