14 THE QUEENS COURIER • NOVEMBER 29, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
College student from Queens among thousands living in food insecurity
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
Aft er coming home from his part-time
job at Best Buy, Jesse Delacruz walks
through his empty living room in his
Corona apartment to his equally bare
kitchen. He grabs a drink from his refrigerator
which houses few lonely bags of
He has had only one meal today.
Delacruz, like a growing number of
college student in the borough, worries
about how he can aff ord his next meal.
He has even started going to a food pantry
at his school, LaGuardia Community
College, but students are only allowed to
visit the pantry three times a month.
“I am one of the lucky ones,” said
Delacruz. “Th ere are people that are literally
More college students in Queens worry
about where their next meal is coming
from than they did 10 or 15 years ago,
according to a study from the CUNY
Urban Food Policy Institute.
Th e rise in number has been attributed
to a combination of factors — increased
housing costs, higher university tuition
and higher number of low-income students
being able to attend college.
Th is increase also comes at a time with
food insecurity in the borough as a whole
is increasing. According to a study from
Hunger Free America, 70 percent of
Queens emergency food programs report
an increase in number of people served
this year. Nearly nine percent of Queens
residents were food insecure from 2015
According to CUNY Urban Food
Policy Institute, in Fall 2015, about 15,715
students at the four CUNY campuses in
Queens (Queens College, York College,
Queensborough Community College and
Jesse Delacruz goes grocery shopping at the Key Foods supermarket around the corner from his apartment in Corona. Prices are important to him since
money is extremely tight but even while being frugal he can’t aff ord groceries for three meals a day.
LaGuardia Community College) reported
that they oft en or sometimes experienced
hunger in the last 12 months due to insuffi
cient resources for food.
About 15,715 students enrolled on the
Queens campuses reported experiencing
any level of food insecurity in the past
12 months. In 2015, about 35,000 students
were enrolled in the two community
colleges in Queens and about 25,000
undergraduates were enrolled at Queens
College or York College.
But this number could have been higher.
Many food insecure students are
embarrassed of asking for help or receive
services from their institutions of higher
learning — something that Delacruz suffered
Only one-third of the four-year students
with food insecurity reported using
campus-based services for food security.
“I know people who need services and
they don’t feel comfortable going,” said
In order to combat this crisis, more
Queens colleges have opened food pantries.
Earlier this month, Queens College
opened a pantry and, in late August, York
College and Queensborough Community
College announced that food pantries
Photos: Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech/THE COURIER
would come to their campuses.
It seems that at least some level of
food insecurity is a product of coming
to school, according to Director of
the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
Nicholas Freudenberg, who fi nds it saddening
and poignant that student’s go
hungry while in the pursuit of bettering
their lives. Th e way to combat this issue is
through a holistic approach of decreasing
tuition costs and creating more aff ordable
“Pantries are a good short term solution
they are a band aid and not a long term
solution,” said Freudenberg.
Jesse Delacruz takes a moment to rest in his bare kitchen.
In the cafeteria of LaGuardia Community College, Jesse Delacruz, uses a food voucher to buy himself
a sandwich which he saves for dinner.