Wyden pushes for access by college students to food security assistance

On April 23, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) pushed to help college students in Oregon and nationwide have access to critical nutrition assistance by opening the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), which can be triggered during a pandemic.

Many college students in Oregon and across the nation are facing unprecedented challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “Food insecurity is more common among students attending two-year and community colleges, and disproportionately affects Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students, students who are parenting, and students who have been in foster care,” Wyden and 18 colleagues wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

For many college communities food pantries, on-campus meal provision, and other similar programs have provided a safety net for food-insecure students. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those resources have become inaccessible due to social distancing and campus shutdowns.

The letter continues by stating “college students were among the first to experience substantial changes as the nation worked to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. As policymakers, we must bolster protections for our most vulnerable college students during this uncertain time.”

At the University of Oregon, the Food Security Task Force continues to provide students with the support they need during these unsettled times. The Basic Needs Page keeps students up to date on available programs and services, including SNAP enrollment information and help. The Food Security webpage, hosted by the Dean of Students, continues to be updated with information about the availability of food programs in and around campus. Students are invited to complete a survey, which will allow university staff to find out what student needs are to support them with targeted programming.