Texas A&M University Program to Secure Food for Student Veterans
A new initiative by the Texas A&M University will address food insecurity among student veterans, the school announced last week.
The university is launching a new Meals for Vets program on the College Station campus that will cater to 1,150 student veterans who will receive five meals per week from campus dining halls.
Reports suggest that veterans are at greater risk of experiencing food insecurity. Nationally, nearly 2 million veterans reported being food insecure, while 1.5 live in poverty.
The university has also received a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission for the program.
“There are a lot of misconceptions floating around out there about student veteran educational benefits,” said University System Director of Veteran Services Col. Gerald L. Smith.
“The reality is that many student veterans do not receive GI Bill benefits that fully pay tuition and fees, resulting in those student veterans taking care of these expenses out of their monthly military stipends or other income, if any. These stipends typically do not cover basic bills, much less tuition and fees. The harsh truth is that a number of our student veterans struggle to make ends meet, and many of them are also supporting families.”
Student veterans who have a minimum of 180 days of military service and DD-214 for proof of service are eligible to receive benefits under the program.
A recent study by the University of Maryland-College Park scholar pointed that lack of access to a reliable supply of nutritious food can make a student fail assignments and exams, withdraw from classes or the university, score lower grade points and even stay away from such important career opportunities as internships.
Last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has moved a bicameral College Student Hunger Act of 2019 that would make students who receive pell grants and independent students eligible to apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.