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First Student-Run Food Pantry Opening on OSU's Campus

(WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS -- It's a popular joke - the starving college student surviving on pizza and Ramen Noodles.

But for many college students across the country, the hunger is real and the struggle to afford their next meal is no laughing matter.

A brand-new food pantry opening on The Ohio State's University's campus tomorrow aims to help solve the student hunger problem.

It's called Buckeye Food Alliance and it's OSU's first, student-run, on-campus food pantry.

Thomas Rosenberger, Alec Admonious and their three roommates, began working on the idea of a campus food pantry two years ago after researching the issue.

"We found that [hunger on campus] is actually a pretty widespread problem with the rising costs of tuition and books." Rosenberger says.

OSU is joining the growing list of colleges with on-campus food pantries. They partnered with the College and University Food Bank Alliance - a professional organization consisting of campus-based programs focused on alleviating food insecurity, hunger, and poverty among college and university students in the United States - joining nearly 300 members.

Rosenberger points out, "A lot more college students are having to choose between whether or not to buy food or whether or not to get their books for classes."

Those students will now be able to turn to Buckeye Food Alliance for help.

"There's not really a typical profile." Rosenberger added.

"We expect there will probably be a lot of non-traditional students like single moms coming back to school, military vets, or first-time students who don't have as much support from family coming in."

The pantry will run on donations from students and the general public. Admonius says that already Buckeyes Against Hunger has donated a more 400 bags of individually packed soup and the pantry has also received donations from Giant Eagle.

According to their website, Buckeye Food Alliance is a 501(c)3 entity that is separate from the university.

However - Dave Isaacs, Communications for the Office of Student Life at The Ohio State University - says the school supports the pantry. "Our role specifically here is we've helped with an advisor, we've made the space available for them, so that this project can go forward."

Isaacs said, "Ohio State is vitally interested in the issue of food security both globally and here on campus. We see food security as a really important element in removing barriers to student success."

OSU has a lot of services to help students in need -- Isaacs says "15 percent of students self-report very low food security" -- but this is the first on-campus food pantry.

"We're so proud of the students for coming up with this and championing this and seeing it through to the opening tomorrow." Isaacs said.

"This is the sort of thing that service leadership is all about: serving others and providing leadership. It's really heartwarming to me."

Buckeye Food Alliance opens March 30th at 6pm.

For more information about how you can help, visit their website: BuckeyeFoodAlliance.org

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