Lehman College food pantry helps feed students

- College students not having enough to eat is a hidden crisis on college campuses in the United States.

Yrieh Trimarchi, a junior at Lehman College in the Bronx, is one of many students in the U.S. who are skipping meals in order to save money.

"I wasn't making enough. Not everyone makes that much in their job. So, I decided to come here," Trimarchi said. "That was my way to help my family, as well, so they didn't have to spend as much on food."

When sophomore Adewale Adewusi lost his evening job, he lost the money needed to buy groceries.

"Having the food pantry has really been a benefit to me because I could go there and have something to eat, support myself," Adewusi said.

Students participating in Lehman's Leadership Development Program came up with the idea of a food pantry to help their fellow classmates. Senior Shovaine Singh runs the pantry.

"Sometimes students will come and say that they don't have enough food or they're struggling and they need help," Singh said. "Sometimes they don't go to class because they didn't have anything to eat. Once you don't have something to eat and you're hungry, you wouldn't focus."

Three days a week, the Lehman Food Bank is open to any students in need. Students sign up online for an appointment to collect 10 items to take home. On average, the food bank feeds 30 to 40 students per week. Over the last year, it has served more than 8,000 meals. And the college believes that there is a greater need.

A study of nearly 4,000 students from 26 four-year colleges and universities showed that 22 percent of students are hungry and 48 percent said they experienced food insecurity in the past 30 days.

"When people are in a financial situation, or any type of crisis, some of them keep it inside, but some of them do tell other people," Trimarchi said.

Lehman College is working with Food Bank New York City to supply the pantry. The college encourages student clubs to get involved in fundraising and the food bank also accepts donations.

"It could be the difference of a kid coming to school or not coming to school—knowing that they have some food," Trimarchi said.

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