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Food Insecurity

Did you know that food insecurity affects one in four college students? Food insecurity can mean not having enough to eat, but also not having access to a healthy variety of food for adequate nutrition.  So what can we do?  Check out the following fast facts to learn more about food insecurity and what we can do to help!

The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation for a family or can last a long time. Food insecurity is one way we measure how many people can’t afford food. 

Food-insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time, but food insecurity reflects the choices households sometimes need to make between meeting basic needs such as housing, health, childcare, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods. 

Not exactly!

  • Hunger is the feeling someone has when they don’t have food. 
  • Food insecurity is the consistent lack of food to have a healthy life because of your economic situation. 

More than 34 million people, including 9 million children experience food insecurity in the United States. 

According to a survey report from The Hope Center, amongst the survey respondents at two-year colleges, 38% experienced food insecurity in the 30 days before the survey, with just over 16% experiencing low food security and a little more than 22% experiencing very low food security.  

The defining characteristic of low food security is that “food intake of household members is reduced, and their normal eating patterns are disrupted because the household lacks money and other resources for food.” 

In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 18-question framework for food security stated that over two in five survey respondents at two-year colleges and nearly a third of those at four-year colleges worried about their food running out before they had money to buy more. 

College tuition is on the rise and so is food insecurity among students. Between the cost of attending college, stagnant wages, the persistence of inequality, and now inflation, it’s no wonder college students are struggling. Nearly 30% of students at four-year colleges reported food insecurity at some point during their college career, and the percentage is even higher for marginalized communities. 
The problem: college students are being forced to choose between eating and paying for their tuition. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing food insecurity or hunger, know that you are NOT alone. Helping Hands and the Counseling Center are great places on campus to start getting support and to learn about the many community resources available to OCC students.

By educating ourselves and others, we can all create a campus that cares! 


Michelle Youngs
Assistant Director of Student Life
732-255-0400 ext. 2285


If you or a student you know needs assistance with basic needs, visit Helping Hands in the Russell Building (#7) Room 125.

You can also contact us at or 732-255-0400 ext. 2205


Find us on Instagram & Facebook: @OCCHelpingHands and in the Ocean County College app: “Helping Hands”

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