Portland State University monthly giveaway targets food insecurity among students
Author: Beth Nakamura, The Oregonian
Posted: April 12, 2016

See a slideshow and read the original article on OregonLive. 

Hundreds of Portland State University students and other community members lined the Park Blocks on Monday for free produce and other food in an event put on by the school's Committee for Improving Student Food Security.

The giveaway, which takes place the second Monday of every month, marks a year that the group has been offering the free food to students and anyone else who needs it.

Jessica Cole, associate director of the Center of Student Health and Counseling at the university, helped create the giveaway after a research project she conducted revealed 59 percent of the school's student population experienced some form of food insecurity during the 2013-14 academic year.

The giveaway, run in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank, is meeting an increasing need as tuition rises and students cope with general cost-of-living increases,  Cole said.

"They'll have to continue to make a choice between paying tuition or buying books and eating," she said. "It's a choice our students make every day."

Cole, who did her graduate work at the school and conducted the food survey while a student in the master's program in public health, plans to survey students again later this year.

PSU has about 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Nearly 55 percent are women. The average student age is 28.

-- Beth Nakamura 503-221-8218

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