The issue of food insecurity on college campuses has been explored in great depth in the last decade; however, there is much less research on the impacts of interventions such as food pantries. Some scholars suggest that food pantries alone are not enough to make an impact on food insecurity, asserting that, "not a single study has examined the effectiveness of food pantries at decreasing food insecurity on postsecondary education institutions" (Bruening, Argo, Payne-Sturges, and Laska 2017: 1788). This study aimed to gain insight into the student experience of using a food pantry and the impact that it has on their college experience. This study focused on what additional access to food and resources means to college students at a large, public, four-year institution. Interviews were conducted with twenty-eight UCF students who have used the Knights Pantry. The student experience using the pantry was explored, including entry to the pantry, barriers, how the pantry is used, and the emotions that students feel when using the pantry services. Further, the impact of the pantry on students was profound: students report more financial stability, more food security, and even, in some cases, better ability to perform in classes. In addition, a "ripple effect" of impact is seen, with services reaching others in the community, most often family members of students. Overall, this study serves as a model for future explorations of the impact of food insecurity interventions and provides the first insights into how additional food access impacts college students.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Howell, Courtney, "The Impacts of a Food Pantry on College Students" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1388.