The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Letter to the Editor | Fight food insecurity with the Student Basic Needs Coalition

Student hunger and food insecurity is a serious problem in America, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. This problem is true within our Champaign-Urbana community. According to CU Citizen Access, 11% of people in Champaign County are suffering from food insecurity, a number that is projected to increase to 14.4% in the coming years. This is a stunning metric that shows we are facing a major issue.

My sophomore year of college was a tough year for me initially. I did not make as much money over the summer as I anticipated, leaving me with a small amount of money for food for the entire school year. I often had to choose between doing something with my friends or having groceries for the week. My story is not unique to me. There are many students on campus facing the same dilemma I faced a year ago. There is a solution to this problem, however. 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, is a government-funded program that can save students up to $250 in groceries every month. According to the Student Basic Needs Coalition, around 30% of college students are eligible for SNAP. However, about 70% of students who are eligible for SNAP have not applied to receive their benefits. This is known as the SNAP gap. 

The Student Basic Needs Coalition on the University of Illinois campus has launched its SNAP into Action program. The SNAP into Action program is working toward eliminating the college student SNAP gap on this campus. In collaboration with the Student Basic Needs Coalition national board, SBNC has created a screener in order to make it quicker and easier for students to determine if they are eligible for SNAP. 

If the student is deemed eligible, the Illinois Student Basic Needs Coalition chapter has an easy SNAP application form that is much more user-friendly than the government’s application. As a result of SNAP into Action, the Student Basic Needs Coalition has saved students over $47,000 in groceries nationally. 

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    If you are interested or know someone who is interested, the screener is available online.

    Student food insecurity has serious implications for students’ futures. Therefore, it is crucial that we solve this problem as a community. As long as students are facing this problem, our community will suffer. So consider filling out the screener and joining SBNC @ UIUC in order to make a lasting impact in the Champaign-Urbana area.

     

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