WDEL file

Commuting local students - paying tuition, often holding down at least one job - could still face food insecurity.

It may come as a surprise, and a study opened some eyes at Delaware Technical Community College.

Now, Delaware Tech has a food pantry available at each of its four campus locations.

Food insecurity is described by Feeding America as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. That may be due to a lack of available financial resources.

According to Delaware Tech President Dr. Mark Brainard, the school last year participated in the Wisconsin Hope Lab survey on food insecurity. The study indicated that 13 percent of the college's students experience some form of homelessness, 46 percent were housing insecure, and 43 percent had low or very low food security. 

"Needless to say, these numbers were very startling for us and prompted all of our teams at all of the campus locations to act," Brainard said.

The Food Bank of Delaware has been working with the Harry K Foundation - named after Harry Keswani, a successful downstate businessman who once faced food insecurity - to build and stock the pantries.

"We are always on the lookout for opportunities to fight that food insecurity that we know is prevalent in society today," Harry K Foundation Vice President Tallie Miller said.

"You cannot be a good citizen, a good productive citizen of the State of Delaware, if you are food insecure," Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe said.

At Stanton, student leaders also played a major part. Kelicia Dix and other members of the PTK honor society heard about the need and addressed it.

"They have reduced lunch for kids in primary school but it feels as though after they graduate, they're neglected," Dix said.

Students are now able to visit the food pantry and take up to 30 pounds of food and five pounds of personal care products. Soap, toothpaste, paper towels and cleaning supplies are also kept in stock.

"This is something that has to be done," Dix said. "We have the power to do that."

Reporter - Anchor

Mark Fowser is a veteran journalist in Delaware.