Struggling Students Turn To Pantries For Food

For years, Texoma food pantries have helped feed low income individuals.

But as Newschannel 6 Lindsey Rogers reports, now, rising food prices are bringing in another group, struggling college students.

"I always think, what's going to happen next month? How am I going to make it? But, I just hope everything is going to be fine," MSU student Joyce Forbi said.

Forbi has a part time job to help her get through college.

Because her parents are able to help with her tuition, she makes enough that she doesn't have to depend on food pantries. But, she said that's not the case for one of her friends.  Her neighbor has to use the food pantry.

"We have seen some. We don't keep track of numbers like that but we have seen a few come in here even though we don't give out food to individuals, some agencies have seen an increase in numbers," Agency Director Wendell Griffin said.

He has been working at the Wichita Falls Area Food bank for eight years and only recently has he seen this new group of struggling students taking advantage of their services.

"You have to buy books and other stuff, it's really hard and you have to work all the time to get the money," Forbi said.

Some manage to get tuition paid through scholarships and grants. So, living expenses are where they see the crunch.

"Pennies are tight, pinching pennies all the time. Some have one or two jobs, some take 15 hour semesters. They're coming from work or going to work or been to work. It's hard all around," MSU student Ross Hammond said.

Griffin said the agencies with the most influx are those near apartment complexes that house a lot of college students, like the food pantry at the Heritage Assembly of God off Southwest Parkway.

"If you're not getting your daily requirements for food, you're not able to think straight, your grades are going to slip," Griffin said.

This may be the first time many of these students have been in this tight of a situation and they may not feel comfortable accepting handouts.

"I'm sure they're aware, but they look at it and go, that's not for me or that's for homeless or people with advantages I have that they don't," Hammond said.

But, Griffin said there is no need for any Texoman to go hungry.

"If they are needing food they should go to an agency and apply and I'm sure they'll be able to get some help," Griffin said.

Several colleges across the country have opened food pantries on-campus to serve the growing need of struggling students.

The Wichita Falls Area Food Bank tells us that is not something MSU has pursued through them.

Our calls to the Student Government Office weren't immediately returned.

Students tell us though, several churches near campus offer $1 lunches and many take advantage of that.

Lindsey Rogers, Newschannel 6