The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

We must fight food hardship in our community now

Guilford County contains 24 food deserts with over 93,000 individuals and 36,000 households suffering from lack of access to affordable, fresh and healthy food. How many Guilford College students are aware that such a food desert exists less than one mile from campus?

Without access to grocery stores and supermarkets, these communities are forced to depend on fast-food restaurants and gas stations as food sources.

This predicament causes Greensboro and High Point to be ranked number one in the nation for food hardship by the Washington-based Food Research and Action Center.

While poverty, poor city planning and racial segregation have created the wound of hunger, a lack of awareness inhibits its healing.

“The challenge is that the hunger and poverty in Greensboro is not seen by those who are not hungry,” said Don Milholin, founder of The Out of the Garden Project, the Triad’s largest food assistance program for children and their families.

“Those that live in more affluent areas, unless they make an effort to visit these areas, will not know about food insecurity or poverty.”

Through the community garden, mobile market and Bonner Center, Guilford works to harvest and farm fresh food to bring to the Glen Haven Community Center to feed Bhutanese refugees.

However, in an interview with senior Moira O’Neill, the mobile market and community garden’s project coordinator, I learned that only 16 students out of Guilford’s 1,881 students actively participate in the planning for either the mobile market or the community garden.

This means that as far as we know only 0.008 percent of Guilford College consistently works toward helping the 27.6 percent of children suffering from hunger in North Carolina.

“I don’t think students at Guilford are very aware about the food insecurity in the Greensboro area,” said senior Sam Miller, project coordinator for Guilford’s farmer’s market.

“The Bonner Center does a lot of work to address this issue, but otherwise, I think food insecurity in Greensboro is not common knowledge.”

Guilford has the potential to serve further if more than 0.008 percent of students take the initiative to educate themselves and others on the magnitude of hunger in Greensboro.

“Colleges and universities have over 40,000 students in town,” said Phil Fleischmann, coordinator of the Community Food Task Force in Greensboro. “They could play a major role in addressing this problem and the awareness issues around it.”

As a college that aims to embody Quaker values, we need to assist those in distress while addressing the underlying systemic issues.

“You are blinded to it in this side of Greensboro because we have unlimited food on campus and five or six grocery stores within a mile radius,” said O’Neill.

Fighting for the social justice cause of hunger is a responsibility we must not escape.

On campus, we have the opportunity to join the efforts of the mobile market, Bonner Center and community garden.

Off campus, organizations such as the High Point Food Alliance, Greensboro Food Task Force, The Out of the Garden Project and Guilford Food Council constantly seek motivated volunteers and coordinators.

Every day, we have the opportunity to start conversations promoting constructive discussion of potential solutions and ways to get involved.

Awareness of the issue has the potential to motivate, encourage and inspire everyone to work toward ending hunger.

“Hunger is the greatest epidemic facing our world today for which we have the cure, but we may lack the interest,” said Milholin.

Act upon your human responsibility and join the fight to end hunger.

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About the Contributor
Meghana Iragavarapu
Meghana Iragavarapu, Features Editor
Early College Senior Always hoping to spread smiles, Early College senior Meghana Iragavarapu dedicates her section and free time to advocating for social justice causes in Greensboro and around the world. A coffee fanatic, Meghana enjoys spending time with family and friends, serving at local food shelters, and most importantly, savoring the occasional waffle fries from Chick-fil-A! Meghana has been with the paper for a year and loves receiving ideas for pitches and stories!

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