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Food is a fundamental human need. However, with around one in three college students in California experiencing food insecurity daily, this necessity has transformed into a commodity. The lack of nourishing meals for adolescents foreshadows detrimental physiological effects into adulthood. Furthermore, many Californians live in a food desert: an area in which a large portion of residents face low access to grocery stores. With the sudden surge in unemployment, the COVID-19 pandemic has only augmented food insecurity rates. In order to ensure healthier futures, it is vital for communities to come together by donating to food banks as well as lobbying to convince policymakers to implement legislation to create a measurable improvement in the food insecurity faced by college students. 

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At UCR, resources such as the R’Pantry and R’Garden are available to students. The R’Pantry is an on-campus food pantry that provides “ non-perishable food, personal hygiene, household care and childcare items”. The R’Garden is a community garden where “students are welcome to pick fruits and vegetables for free”. Currently, food donations can be made to the R’Pantry as well as financial donations to both. During the pandemic, the R’Pantry is available by appointment for students to utilize once a week per student. UCR also has other resources available to students such as Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT), Student Affairs Case Management, and Short Term Grocery Support

[bf_image id="3bbm8699rxqp882w3bjxrcfj"] In California, organizations such as Nourish California advocate for policies which improve access to food. They have had created several policy changes in regards to hunger in schools, safe water, and other initiatives. We can come together to get involved in or donate to organizations such as this one to enact concrete change towards a less food insecure California. 

[bf_image id="x4jhvwvrtvm27sr28234c"] Although food insecurity may not be an issue that everyone is aware about, its impacts are far reaching. Donating food and money can provide aid to those facing food insecurity, but by working towards improvements in legislation, the roots of the problem can be addressed. It is up to us to come together and provide support to those in our communities. 

Dana Morshed

UC Riverside '23

Dana is a second-year Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology major. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and volunteering.
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