Please see the information below regarding the newly formed College and University Anti-Hunger Alliance of Mississippi. Check back often for updated information and check out our Resources Page for articles and columns.
College and University Anti-Hunger Alliance Established
Flowood, MS –The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi (The Partnership) has announced the formation of The College and University Anti-Hunger Alliance of Mississippi (The Alliance). This is an alliance of like-minded organizations, individuals and community leaders who are interested in eradicating hunger on Mississippi’s higher education campuses including community and junior colleges, colleges and universities. “Mississippi has a high rate of students in the free or reduced school lunch program. The need for assistance in securing food does not go away because they go to college. Hunger is a very real problem on the campuses in our state,” said Sandra Shelson, Executive Director of The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi.”
The Partnership was recently awarded an Emerging Advocacy Fund Grant from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. MAZON is a national advocacy organization working to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the United States and Israel. “The Partnership has been working to secure college campuses around the state that are interested in setting up food pantries. Organizing a bigger alliance of people is an easier and more efficient way to accomplish this. We are pleased that our efforts have secured relationships with Tougaloo College, Coahoma Community College and Jackson State University and all are working towards getting food pantries set up and running on their campuses with Jackson State leading the charge by opening their pantry doors on Wednesday, October 10, 2018,” said Langston Moore, Communications and Community Engagement Director for The Partnership. “It is our hope that through our work with MAZON and these new partners, we can reduce campus hunger in these areas of the state and others in years to come.”
A survey of 43,000 students, the largest national survey assessing the basic needs of security of university students, was recently conducted by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. The study revealed that 36% of university students were food insecurein the 30 days preceding the survey. Community college student estimates for food insecurity is 42% according to the study. The survey also revealed that students who suffer from hunger are at a disadvantage in and outside of the classroom because “academic effort-in and outside of the classroom- is the same regardless of whether or not students are dealing with food and housing insecurity. It is therefore critically important to match their commitments with supports to ensure degree completion.”
Recent activities of The Alliance have included a tour of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Eagle’s Nest Food Pantry to take a tour of the pantry and see the operations firsthand. After the tour, the Alliance members met at the Purple Parrot Lounge Meeting Room to discuss the pantry, current anti-hunger efforts around the state and to collaborate on ideas about campus hunger. Dr. Tamara Hurst, Faculty Advisor of The USM Eagle’s Nest Food Pantry stated, “Improving access to food and resources for our students in higher education is not a solitary endeavor. I’m looking forward to working with The College and University Anti-Hunger Alliance as we strive to reduce student food insecurity. It is exciting to witness the creativity and passion of this group and I’m honored to be a part of it.” Dr. Hurst will serve as the Faculty Chair for The Alliance.
Alliance member Astria Goolsby, a health educator at Tougaloo College, was on the visit and stated, “The College and University Anti-Hunger Alliance of Mississippi is a much needed resource in the state. Tougaloo College is thrilled to serve on The Alliance and is prepared to gain knowledge and share our experiences as we work on campus anti-hunger initiatives on our campuses and assist with others.” The Alliance is still being formed and a board is being secured. Meetings will be scheduled soon and announcements will be sent to the media and the public.
Organizations currently represented on The Alliance are:
The Society of St. Andrew (Mississippi)
Extra Table (Hattiesburg)
Mississippi Center for Justice (Mississippi)
Tougaloo College (Jackson)
Sow, Reap, Feed (Jackson)
Coahoma Community College (Clarksdale)
The University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg)
Jackson State University (Jackson)
The American Heart Association (Mississippi)