Boise State is the only university in Idaho that doesn't have a food pantry, and many students are going hungry. While the University is working to address the issue, some students and faculty have started a program as a quick fix.
Inside the faculty lounge of the Boise State Communications Building, students can find a little bite to eat and don't even have to pay a dime, all they have to do is fill out a brief anonymous survey. It's called the Snack Shack, and it's filled with food, so starving college students don't have to starve.
"You don't really think about what that really means, why is that ok and why should we be starving and go into class running on an energy drink when we could be going to class on full stomachs and being able to focus and work at our best," said BSU senior Jana Hockersmith.
It started out as a simple class project, Hockersmith read a study that found 40% of Boise State students suffer from food insecurity. She did a survey of her own and found 8 out of 10 of her classmates struggle affording food on a regular basis. After realizing there's a need, she and others including her professor jumped into action. All the food is made up of donations from faculty, staff, students and members of the community. It's only been open since early November, but it's already fed more than 30 students from across the campus.
"We found out that the majority of students coming in also work part-time and they are just trying to make ends meet paychecks, some have dependent children," explained Rebecca Robideaux Tiedge, a communications professor at Boise State.
While Boise State hopes to address the issue of hunger more by providing a food pantry and a community garden, the Snack Shack is serving as a stop-gap until the student government can finalize their plans.
"If we can do something until A.S.B.S.U gets their thing up and running, then at least students are getting some help," said Hockersmith.
The Snack Shack is looking for food donations, for people interested in contributing, the items most popular with students are hearty, chunky soups, protein bars, with expiration dates of late 2018.