BENEFITING: Second Harvest
A recent study by Oregon State University found that about 60 percent of college students at one Oregon university had been food insecure at some point in 2013.
Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”
The results of a 2013 survey showed that 22 percent of University of Florida students skipped meals in the last year to save money.
Gator Food Pantry would aim at providing no-cost, weekly balanced grocery bundles, that would not hinge on the slow/ convoluted criteria from the state of Florida Food Stamp program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Also, SNAP criteria does not allow for foreign students with temporary visa status to receive emergency food-stamp assistance. Many foreign students come to the University of Florida with limited resources, and attend school on partial merit based grants from their own countries. However, the situation can become volatile as in the case of Venezuela.
Starting summer term 2014, scholarship grant stipends from the Venezuelan government were suddenly cut-off for students in Florida. In fact, many had to drop out , and return to Venezuela to be made an example of partisan politics.
The initial goal of $100,000 would be earmarked to set-up a long term lease for the pantry pick-up location near campus, keep the lights on, purchase refrigrerators and freezers, jump start marketing initiatives to tell our story to potential stakeholders, local and regional grocers and the community at large, hire part time students at progressive wages, to run and administer the pantry, develop a website with a sign-up for benefits module, and for fees related to setting-up Gator Food Pantry as a non-profit tax exempt 501c3 entity.