With some groceries costing 30% more this year, food banks have surprising new customers: college students. About 150 visit a Seattle food pantry each week, up 25% from last year, while a Denver college food program has seen its numbers double. "With things the way they are, a lot of students can't afford to eat," said a student who started the Facebook group, "I Ain't Afraid to be on Food Stamps."
Students can get food stamps if they qualify for a government work-study program, take job training, have a child under 12, or work part-time. But that disqualifies many in need, one expert said. A food pantry director said people are surprised that college students face such hardships. "There is a stereotype if they're in college they can afford to eat," he said. "But there are some students who have hardly any disposable income."