Is having to find consistent, affordable food always putting you in a bad mood?
The USDA defines food insecurity as "a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food." Food insecurity is a problem that is prevalent on a majority of college campuses including including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Chicago, and University of Illinois at Springfield.
According to the results of a study done with Trellis Company in fall 2018, as much as 19% of undergraduate students and 13% of graduate students across the University of Illinois System show signs of very low food security per the USDA scale, meaning they may be skipping meals, eating less, or eating less nutritious food.
It not only affects a student's physical health but also their mental health and their overall ability to have a successful college career. As stated in the UIC Cares pantry site, "research shows that proper nutrition is critical for cognitive function and memory." To combat this issue at our universities, the Student Money Management Center, as well as other campus offices and local communities are working hard to promote financial awareness as well as support students. To learn more about what you can do to save money or get a hot, cooked meal, check out the resources below.
Save Course, University of Illinois Financial Literacy Digital Badges Program
The Save course features useful modules that will help you become financially aware now and hone skills that will be useful for years to come. Completing at least 3 modules in the save course will earn you a digital badge and an overall better knowledge of financial stability. Enroll today!
How to Save on Food is a specific module in the save course useful for identifying ways to cut your food costs, whether through eating out or buying groceries, and tools that can help you when experiencing food insecurity.
SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
SNAP is a program for low-income families and individuals designed to help provide food for those that qualify. Read more in the link above to see how you can qualify and apply.
University of Illinois at Springfield
UIS CARES Pantry, Student Affairs Building, SAB 60A
UIS Cares is a pantry that serves the needs of UIS students to help support their academic success through alleviating food insecurity.
- Wednesday 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
- Thursday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
- Friday 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
University of Illinois at Chicago
UIC Pop-Up Pantry, Wellness Center, Student Center East
UIC Pop-Up is a pantry that serves UIC students of all backgrounds with proper nutrition for academic success.
- Wednesday 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
- Thursday 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lunch On Us, OIIR
Lunch On Us is a discussion for students to receive lunch while also learning about different cultures and issues facing society today. Click their link to see which events they will be having each day.
- Every week day 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Events with free food occur all over campus regularly so make sure to check the calendars, like the student affairs calendar, frequently!
Urbana-Champaign Community Support
Jubilee Café, 805 S 6th St, Champaign, IL 61820
Jubilee Café is a café at the Community United Church of Christ that serves free meals to any resident or student. For more resources, check out their downloadable file for further located free meals and community resources.
- Dinner, Monday 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
UniPlace, 403 S Wright St, Champaign, IL 61820
UniPlace Community Dinner is a student operated meal program that occurs only when classes are in session. It has started again this semester and remember to look at their calendar for more events.
- Dinner, Wednesday 6:00 pm
ETC Coffee House, S Goodwin Ave, Urbana, IL 61801
ETC Coffee House is a coffee house, part of the Wesley Church, that serves coffee and snacks daily.
- Everyday 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
- International Coffee House, Everyday 4:00 pm
Wesley United Methodist Church and Student Center, 1203 W Green St, Urbana, IL 61801
The Wesley Church is a location on campus where they have pantries on certain days of the week. Find events on their calendar to see when the different pantries and events happen.
- Student Food Pantry, Friday 1:00 pm.
- Evening Pantry, Thursday 5:00 pm
Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, 116 N 1st St, Champaign, IL 61820
The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen is an organization that serves a full course meal everyday to people in the community.
- Lunch, Every day 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Fighting Food Insecurity
Food insecurity is a problem that will continue affecting the lives of current and future students to come. If students start to become more financially educated and are informed about the resources available to support them, food insecurity will become a more manageable issue. Better food security will be beneficial in the long run, promoting a healthier lifestyle with less time worrying about the next meal and more time spent on the student's personal or academic endeavors.
If you would like to volunteer or donate, click on any of the organizations' links to learn more. Food insecurity will not be alleviated from a single person's effort but from everyone in the university and community's efforts.