More than 30 Years of Engagement for Ohio's Public Good

Food Pantries at Three Northwest Ohio Higher Education Institutions: Impacts of Kitchen Equipment Access and Culturally Appropriate/Safe Food Items

Hannah Koch, Graduate Student from Bowling Green State University

This research project is still a work in progress. We are in the data collection phase and will analyze results in April- May 2022. A background on food insecurity in college students and our research findings will be presented.

A research survey is being conducted at the food pantries at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), the University of Toledo (UT), and Owens Community College (Owens). This needs assessment focuses on students’ living situations, kitchen equipment, and tools they don’t have available, and students’ confidence in their ability to cook balanced, nutritional meals, and foods requested based on their cultural and/or medical needs. We are also assessing what assistance programs in the community students are aware of and have used to supplement their needs. We are predicting gaps in cultural foods at the pantries, gaps in students’ kitchen equipment, and underutilization of community programs. Our long-term goals are to alleviate the financial burden on students and improve retention and graduation rates.

Our community and civic engagement is a call to action for students, faculty, staff, and community members to be involved in food insecurity education, public policy, research, direct service, and planning short-term vs. long-term solutions that can provide an equitable future for all people to navigate college and be successful academically through graduation and beyond. We also stress the importance of government assistance programs and community agency partnerships.

Our takeaways are the prevalence of food insecurity in college students, acknowledging food pantries are a short-term solution, conversations about long-term solutions for the success of our community’s future generations, and providing tangible ways to get involved in policy-making.

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