OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - College students across our area are skipping meals and going hungry, and to answer the need, on Friday, food pantries opened at one area university, joining a growing list.
As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reports, on the Gold Coast of Long Island, it's hard to imagine students going hungry.
"They weren't feeling good. They had headaches," said New York Institute of Technology Assistant Provost Tiffani Blake. "And then some of them would disclose, 'You know w hat, I'm hungry.'"
It's why New York Institute of Technology has launched two food pantries for students.
Educators says there's a misconception private college students have money for basic needs, but more than half are on low income grants.
"They're really trying to put together every last penny they've got to go to school, to get ahead and to make something of themselves," said NYIT President and CEO Hank Foley.
The cost of tuition is affecting nutrition. Fifty-six percent of NYIT students report they skip meals because they don't have enough money for food.
Students often putting themselves through school make hard choices.
"Getting healthy food sometimes is the main issue with many of these students because it's more expensive," said NYIT student Anoushka Guha.
"No student should have to endure that. So unfortunately that is the reality, but that's something that can be changed," said student Yash Trivedi.
Students can pick up nonperishables with nutritious recipes. Even personal care items and school supplies. No names are used, it's confidential, without stigma.
"There's no questions asked about it," Trivedi said.
Student leaders also worked to reduce the cost of on-campus lunches, which can exceed $8 - out of reach for some.
"You're trying to at least balance out a place to live, a place to go to school. Sometimes I hear people don't even eat or all they have is water sometimes," said NYIT President of Fraternity and Sorority Life Riddhi Modi.
One in three college students nationwide are food insecure. A bill in Albany would allocate $20 million to help colleges help students receive free food.
"Students should not be burdened with that kind of problem. We need them to go to school, to learn, to succeed and not be hungry," said Assembly member Linda Rosenthal.
NYIT is expanding its community garden to stock its food pantry with fresh produce.
The campus food pantries at New York Tech were helped with a $10,000 donation from Stop & Shop.
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