The Truth Behind Why UC Davis Students Are Only Eating One Meal A Day

The Truth Behind Why UC Davis Students Are Only Eating One Meal A Day

"Still falling so short that they're going without having their basic needs met"

Many students are not eating because they cannot afford three meals a day due to high food costs. The food on- and off-campus is more expensive than one can believe. Katy Murphy, a reporter for the Bay Area News Group, discusses in “1 in 5 University of California Students Struggles with Hunger, Study Finds,” how students in the University of California system are prone to food insecurity. She states:

Among the 42 percent of students UC determined to be “food insured”– with or without skipping meals – 29 percent report they had experienced difficulty studying because of hunger; about 25 percent reported having to choose between paying for food and other expenses, such as books and housing; and 15 percent had to choose between paying for food and medicine (Murphy).

This food insecurity in some cases leads students to take time off from school in order to pay their educational expenses.

It is not as simple as just asking their parents for money to cover their food expenses. Some students don’t have a parent and/or other relatives who can financially support them. Some students, not only must cover their own personal expenses, but also help their parent(s) with their expenses. After taking out all their subsidized and unsubsidized loans, some students still fall short at the end of the day in covering their educational expenses. Many students work more than one job to make up for this. In “The Number of Hungry and Homeless Students Rises Along with College Costs” Sara Goldrick-Rab, a sociologist, mentions how “it’s not just college students [that] need to work while in school…it’s that they’re working, and borrowing, and sometimes still falling so short that they’re going without having their basic needs met.” This leaves many students hungry at the edge of homelessness. The narratives of students facing hunger take many different forms, but in all cases not being able to cover meals affects their academics, health, and emotional well-being, as well as many other areas of life.

Supplying food for yourself every day is expensive. Let’s say you only have $30 for a week’s worth of food and you go to the CoHo and buy yourself a sandwich for $7. Then, for lunch, you go and buy yourself two pepperoni pizzas for $6. Later, to make your meal healthy you buy a chicken salad for $9. The total amount without the purchase of an apple, juice, coffee, snacks or any additional food snacks is $20 for that day.

The salad was the most expensive food choice of the meal mentioned above. Even a dollar or two makes a huge difference in one’s budget when facing a financial burden. Living off fast food, such as pizza, affects students’ physical and mental health, but after students have no alternative to purchasing fast food due to their financial circumstances since healthy food is much more expensive. There exist many resources on campus that support many students facing hunger, but not all of them.

RESOURCES

PANTRY

The pantry is a student-run organization for UC Davis students. Their goal is to “ensure that no student [is] forced to choose between food and college cost.1” The pantry provides up to three meals or personal items a day to registered students as long as they show their ID (an anonymous system). It is housed in Freeborn, room 21. However, be aware that they are not open 24 hours and seven days a week. The pantry is open Monday thru Friday from 10–1pm and Monday thru Thursday from 4–6pm, so for those that are busy throughout the day will not have a chance to take this opportunity.

UC CALFRESH (SNAP)

CalFresh provides students with monthly food expenses where students, if one meets the requirements, receives monthly food stamps for groceries at most grocery stores. However, because it is a federally funded program, it excludes the undocumented community. It also requires one to work under work study with 20 hours’ minimum in order to qualify. Students eligible are only those that get paid through work study, regardless if one works more than 20 hours.2 Therefore, not all students who are in need of food stamps receive this benefit.

FRUIT & VEGGIE UP

Fruit & Veggie Up provides registered students with fresh produce. The days and times change every quarter so students need to check their days and time every quarter. It’s located in the UC Davis Student Health & Counseling Services, which it is first-come-first-serve.3 Therefore, many students that are in food need-base can’t always have access to this since classes may conflict with the short-scheduled time frame to go get produce before it is all gone.

PANTRY SCHOLARSHIP

The pantry scholarship raises money for students who are in need of food can apply to be awarded $250 per student, which is the quarter that one applies for. They only select 2-3 students every quarter,4the amount of awards varies every quarter, however; students will fill out an online application, which includes three statement responses, a resume, transcript, my awards’ page, and participate in an interview with all the staff. Therefore, this long process already impedes some students from applying since students facing hunger may only want to eat not compete with others to see who qualifies more. While some students that are low-income are accustomed to this normality of maybe eating very little, such as a meal a day that they don’t take this opportunity as if they are in need of it, which is a disadvantage for those particular students.

STUDENTS FACING HUNGER

These are some of the resources provided to support students who are in need of food assistance because of one’s financial circumstances. If you have not checked out these resources, stop by and get yourself informed of some of the resources provided to UC Davis students, whether you are facing hunger or know of someone. It is a way to also keep yourself updated if there are additional resources implemented to support our students, if not yourself. On the other end, you can bring your ideas to the forefront on adding potential resources to better support ALL students facing food insecurity.




1 “The Pantry,” The Pantry, http://thepantry.ucdavis.edu.

2 “Welcome to the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program,” UC CalFresh, http://fsnep.ucdavis.edu.

3 “Jump Menu” Fruit & Veggie Up!, Student Health and Counseling Services, \ https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/services/nutrition-services/fruit-and-veggie-up.

4 The Pantry, http://asucd-cms.ucdavis.edu/the-pantry/scholarship-form/.

Cover Image Credit: berkshireeagle.com

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Don't Tell Me Whether Or Not I Want Kids

It's ignorant, it's presumptive, and mostly, it's rude.

I try to avoid the topic of children as much as possible with people because half the time, I'm looked at as if I'm some heartless witch for saying I'm not really fond of them.

There's no rhyme or reason as to why I feel this way. I've grown up in a kid friendly home, I'm not an only child, and my extended family is littered with children of all ages. But for me, kids are annoying and I don't like them. I don't want them.

When I say kids are annoying and I don't like them, I just mean the idea of them. That doesn't mean I can't like certain kids. All my younger cousins are hysterical, fun, active little munchkins that I could hang out with all day. I can meet a newborn and appreciate the beauty that this little baby brings into the world. I can "ooh" and "ahh" at all the little yawns they let out, the button nose they might have, or the way they cry when they want something. I can see a kid in a commercial and think, "Damn, what a cute kid!"

But would I want one of my own? As in, do I wish to have a daughter or son?

No.

I don't really understand why that's such a hard concept for some people to accept. You tell them you're not interested in having kids and all of a sudden you're a demon. You're delusional. You're not a real woman.

I get this response quite often. Mostly - no, especially – from women! I'm expected to take on this motherly persona in which I burst into tears at the sight of a three month old wearing a cute outfit or when I see a four year old make a funny face. I'm expected to feel the inherent desire to coddle someone when they cry. I have to want kids because if I don't, what am I going to do later in life?

The truth is, I don't feel that pang in my heart that makes me excited to start a family. I don't day dream about what my kids names will be. I don't have baby fever. I don't know if I ever will.

All I know is that I'm 22 years old right now. I have graduated college. I have gained merits from organizations and professors. I have friends who I like to spend time with. I have had my fair share of failed and successful relationships. I continue to strive for the best for me at this current time.

I plan on going to graduate school. I plan on starting my career. I plan on marrying someday, not any time soon. I plan on traveling like no other. I plan on eating new foods, drinking new wines, exploring new activities. I plan on getting a kick-ass apartment or house in the city of my dreams. I plan on spending my days doing what I want, when I want. I don't see what's so wrong with that.

Besides, whether or not I want a kid is irrelevant. I know this because notice in the paragraph above, the main concept is "me, me, me."

I am obviously not ready to even entertain the idea of a kid, let alone am I ready for an actual tiny human at any time. Why? Because I am selfish.

Selfish has been made to be such a dirty word. Of course, in the traditional sense, selfish isn't a good thing to be. But in this case, I think my selfishness is justified because it's my life, my body, and my choice. I'm young! I want to do what I want to do and then when I feel I've done it all, I'll think about kids.

Who knows? When I'm 30, I could very well change my mind. I could decide out of the blue to birth 7 of those monsters, but who are you to tell me "Oh, you'll change your mind" when I tell you that I'm not interested in having kids?

How can I give life to something when I can hardly remind myself to eat breakfast in the morning? What reason would I have behind having a child when I can't afford one? Why would I want a kid when more often than not, I don't even know what I want to do with my free time? I'm young. I change my mind at the drop of a hat. That's what I'm supposed to do. Why would anyone expect me to know when I want to get married, have kids, or settle down?

"You won't feel fulfilled."

"What about your family?"

"What will you do with your life if you don't have kids?"

"If you wait too long, you'll be sorry. The biological clock is ticking!"

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And again, who knows what the future holds? I could change my mind. Or I could not.

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A life of complete freedom. Now that would be fulfilling.

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