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Rising tuition costs at colleges and universities throughout the country have contributed to food insecurity on campuses. According to a report released by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab and Temple University, nearly 36 percent of college students can’t afford meals. Bowie State University is on a mission to ensure that its students have access to affordable, nutritious food options. The HBCU recently opened a free pantry on campus, CBS Baltimore reported.

The pantry—dubbed the Bowie State Nutrition Lounge—was a collaborative project led by the Maryland-based institution, the grocery store company Food Lion’s philanthropic initiative Food Lion Feeds, and Capital Area Food Bank. After learning that many students at the university were limited to eating one meal each day due to financial burdens, school officials were determined to address the issue; ultimately leading to the creation of the pantry. The lounge, which was developed with a $10,000 donation from Food Lion, is stocked with fresh produce and non-perishable products. It’s also equipped with a seating area for students to connect.

“The Bowie State Nutrition Lounge is emblematic of the university’s mission,” said Brent Swinton who serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Bowie State. “This campus community provides wraparound support to empower our students to reach their full potential. The nourishment and healthy foods provided in the Nutrition Lounge will empower our students to advance their academic success and personal well-being.” Jason Bullock, the Director of Operations in Bowie for Food Lion, says the initiative will be instrumental in ensuring that students will have no worries figuring out where their next meal will come from.

Food pantries are becoming more common on college campuses. A study from the College and University Food Bank Alliance showed there are 640 colleges and universities in the U.S. that operate on-campus food pantries.

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