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Students invited to Pantry Listening Session on food insecurity, March 22

Logo for the School Street Food PantryIllinois State University students can take part in a session with local leaders to discuss food insecurity. The focus-group-style discourse will be at 2:45 p.m. Friday, March 22, at the School Street Food Pantry at the First United Methodist Church, 211 N. School Street in Normal.

Food insecurity impacts one in three higher education students in Illinois, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. “The restorative model of the Pantry Listening Session has the capacity to improve issue-based dialogue between students in McLean County and our decision-makers, leading to a better overall learning experience at our local higher education institutions,” said Jeanna Campbell, one of the founders of the School Street Food Pantry.

She attributes the growing food insecurity issue to the impact of Illinois budget crisis, and increased tuition and housing costs across the country. “These have exacerbated food insecurity among students, especially among those in precariously employed families, students of color, women, and international students.”

Campbell hopes the dialogue will give voice to students in a restorative setting. “We believe the Pantry Listening Sessions will allow students to utilize means of civic engagement to build bridges with decision-makers in a way that they will be heard and honored.”

More information on the pantry is available at www.schoolstreetfoodpantry.org.