Sep. 22, 2023
AUSTIN, Texas — In recognition of September as Hunger Action Month, the Central Texas Food Bank (CTFB) is joining St. Edward's University and the City of Austin to address a critical issue affecting college students in Central Texas: food insecurity.
Made possible by a grant from the City of Austin and sponsorship from the Central Texas Food Bank, the Monarchs Food Pantry will offer 24-hour access to fresh produce, protein, dairy, and shelf-stable food for the St. Edward's University community. This innovative public-private partnership is poised to serve as a model for other campuses across the region in the future, including Austin Community College, the University of Texas at Austin, and Concordia University.
Over 250,000 adult students attend various colleges, including four-year institutions, community colleges, and technical colleges, within the Central Texas Food Bank's service area. Over 50,000 college enrollees, roughly twenty percent, are struggling to secure regular meals for themselves and their families.
“Our goal is to close the meal gap in Central Texas, and this partnership with St. Edward’s University and the City of Austin is a significant step towards achieving that goal and feeding futures,” said CTFB’s President and CEO Sari Vatske. “We appreciate the City of Austin for recognizing this need and helping establish campus pantries.”
Research has shown that college food insecurity disproportionately affects black and Hispanic students, older individuals, financial aid recipients, and those with children. To address this issue, the CTFB, in partnership with St. Edward's University, is showcasing its Monarch Food Pantry located on the campus of St. Edward's University.
“St. Edward’s University believes every student deserves equitable access to nutritious food. Food insecurity negatively impacts both the physical and mental health of students, leading to decreased academic performance and graduation rates,” said St. Edward’s President Montserrat Fuentes. “This collaboration with Central Texas Food Bank and the City of Austin aligns with the university’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive campus environment for all students.”
In addition, the City of Austin will officially declare Friday, September 22, 2023, as “College Hunger Action Day” as part of its recognition of Hunger Action Month. This proclamation highlights the following key points:
- The Central Texas Food Bank serves over 260,000 people every month in the county region.
- Nearly 170,000 residents in Travis County are at risk of hunger, representing 13.4% of the population.
- Nearly 27 million meals are needed to close the meal gap in Travis County.
- Food insecurity disproportionately affects students of color, financial aid recipients, and student parents.
- Access to fresh, nutritious food is critical for college students' success.
- Short-term nutrition assistance for college students will build a strong workforce for the future.
About St. Edward's University
St. Edward’s University is a private university in the Catholic, Holy Cross tradition with approximately 3,600 students. Located in Austin, Texas, it is one of the top universities in the state and offers more than 50 undergraduate programs, seven master’s degree programs and a doctorate program. St. Edward’s delivers a premier, highly personalized education that provides students distinctive academics and extensive internships, research and service-learning opportunities on a vibrant and inclusive hilltop campus in a world-class city. St. Edward’s has been recognized for 21 consecutive years as one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. In the 2024 Best Colleges rankings, St. Edward’s ranked #6 in the Best Regional University in the West category.
About Central Texas Food Bank
The mission of Central Texas Food Bank is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in the fight against hunger. Founded in 1981, the Food Bank provides food and grocery products through a network of more than 250 Partner Agencies and nutrition programs, serving nearly 55,000 people every week. Headquartered in Austin, the Food Bank serves 21 counties in Central Texas, an area about twice the size of Massachusetts. For more information on the Food Bank and its programs, visit centraltexasfoodbank.org.