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University Coalition in Alabama Receives $500,000 to Fight Hunger

A coalition of ten universities in Alabama has received a $500,000 grant to end food insecurity among students on state campuses.

Under the banner of Alabama Campus Coalition for Basic Needs (UAB), the universities are tasked with making access to food easier and inclusive by collecting data and creating campus-based groups.

Nonprofit ECMC Foundation gave the grant to Auburn University Hunger Solutions Institute that started the coalition to assess food security among college students and to have the opportunity to create a campus-specific project to address their unique needs.

“At UAB, we have worked extensively to understand food insecurity on our campus,” Amy Hutson Chatham, director in the Office of Service-Learning and Undergraduate Research said.

“Those efforts began in earnest in 2017 with a service learning-designated public health course that surveyed 930 students to assess campus food security. This pilot study revealed that 34 percent of respondents could not afford to eat healthy meals.”

Nationally, approximately half of two-year and four-year students are food insecure. A similar report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 30 percent of college students today are food insecure.

The universities through their own campus coalition would assess the scope of food insecurity and available resources on each campus and later develop a campus action plan, to be implemented starting next summer.

Institutions that are participating in the initiative are Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Auburn University, Jacksonville State University, Troy University, Tuskegee University, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of South Alabama.

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