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A FRESH Approach to Addressing Food Insecurity: Student Feedback on University of California Irvine’s Basic Needs Hub

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

A 2017 report from the University of California (UC) found that nearly half of UC undergraduate students were food insecure, lacking consistent access to food. Research has shown that food insecurity has detrimental effects on student health and academic performance. However, literature on university efforts to address food insecurity is limited. University of California Irvine’s FRESH Basic Needs Hub serves food-insecure students by offering a food pantry, food stamp application assistance, and other services. This study analyzed qualitative data from nearly 300 FRESH users to understand what students perceive as program benefits and areas of improvement. Respondents expressed that FRESH supported their health and ability to focus on school. However, students requested a more accessible location, and increased quantity and selection of food. These findings can assist FRESH in enhancing services, while offering suggestions for basic needs initiatives and policies.

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