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Government report says millions of college students going hungry

Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 20:23:05-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Hunger relief advocates say for the first time a government agency has acknowledged there's a serious hunger problem on college campuses in America.

On Wednesday the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report finding 39 percent of all undergraduates in the nation are at risk of hunger because of low household income; that's over 7 million students.

The GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, often called the "congressional watchdog".

The report calls on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to do a better job promoting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to college students.

Commonly referred to as food stamps, SNAP is the main federal benefit program addressing food insecurity for low-income households.

The report also calls on FNS to improve student eligibility information on its website.

The San Diego Food Bank has been tackling this issue for two years now after launching the College Hunger-relief Program.

Vanessa Moore, Vice President of Operations, says the organization has brought food pantries to San Diego's 12 colleges and universities.

“We’re looking to provide campuses grab-and-go type products they can eat at that moment and then get back to their education," said Moore.

SD Food Bank has two full-time staff members designated to walk people through the process of signing up for food benefits.

The San Diego Hunger Coalition has a collection of helpful resources and eligibility guidelines for college students online.