"You can't really see hunger": Student on hidden hunger on UA campus

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"You can't really see hunger": Student on hidden hunger on UA campus

CREATED Feb 23, 2013

Reporter: Alexis Fernandez

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's not something you likely think about while you walk on the University of Arizona campus: hungry students.

No, not the one's who survive on Ramen Noodles or frozen pizzas, but true hidden hunger.

A reality, UA Senior, Tyler Gallant, says is out there. 

"If you're a student, you don't want to tell somebody that you're hungry, can you get some food, it would be really kind of embarrassing to have to admit to especially like your friends," he told 9OYS.

He says because of crushing tuition costs, part-time jobs, and books, food can become a last priority. 

"I have to make sure I leave a certain amount of money out of my student loans to make sure I have enough to eat, pay rent, I guess its helping me learn how to budget better, but it would be easier if it was less expensive," he continued.

A worry, many colleges are trying to take off students plates with the help of food pantries on campus.

The UA is filling the need with the 'UA Campus Pantry,' a student-run club. 

"Everyone came together and they felt like they knew people that were having those issues," said Mariel Wilk, one of the board of directors with the pantry.

At their first event this month, ten students showed up for food. 

"We don't want it to be an un-welcoming experience, we don't want them to be ashamed of it, [we're] here to help, so we want them to come in," she said.

All you need is a Cat Card to get food, and it's open to faculty as well.

9OYS's Alexis Fernandez asked, "Does it seem surreal that we've gotten to this point that you need a pantry to feed students?"

"I mean, I think it's hard because you can't really see hunger," she answered.

She says because it's college, students are sometimes forced to pretend everything is okay. 

"You can assume everyone is fine and to walk around you would think that, but how do you truly know, if they don't want to show it," she said.

Their ultimate goal is to shed light on this harsh reality of college life.

The group's next event will be on Friday, March 1 at the UA Residence Life building.