AMBLER, Pa. (CBS) -- Gwynedd-Mercy University was named to the list of Hunger-Free Campuses by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in May for their work through Catherine's Cupboard.
"So this is our fridge," pantry services director Betsy Stone Plummer showed the fresh and frozen food near the nonperishable items. These are just a few things students can get at the little house on campus. Waiting by the door is Marylee McCollum, social work major and intern at the cupboard.
"Some of us have to choose between getting gas to get up to campus or feeding our child," McCollum said.
In 2021, Temple University released a study estimating nearly 30% of students at four-year institutions did not know where they would get their next meal.
"What they thought they could count on," Plummer said. "They have to make some sacrifices for a semester or for a little while and then they come here."
Students can get more than just food.
"Household items, and personal care items," Plummer said. "We have diapers, we have feminine care products, some paper goods."
She said without this assistance, students face heartbreaking choices.
"They may drop out. And when students leave, they leave with the bills they might have accrued over time, and they have not gained that additional earning power," Plummer said.
Instead, students get help staying in school. That is because classmates like McCollum also work to fight the stigma that keeps students from reaching out.
"You can come in here. This is the place for you, and let me help you and make your day better," McCollum said.
Plummer said the Hunger-Free Campus designation did not come with grant money. However, said this recognition increases their credibility as a charity and makes it easier to apply for funds for more food, clothing, and supplies.
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