Student Hunger

MAZON wants to ensure that students—be they school-age or in college—have enough to eat. We are working to increase visibility on college hunger as a growing problem locally and nationally, and to ensure that low-income children have access to school lunch without shame or stigma.

MAZON wants to ensure that students—be they school-age or in college—have enough to eat. 

Elevating the Issue of College Hunger

For too many college students, food insecurity is a crippling daily reality that means skipped meals, reduced portions, and the choiceless choice between eating and continued investment in their educational needs. All of this impacts student performance, retention, and health.

A recent study by our partners at WI Hope Lab found that 2 of every 3 community college students is food insecure—many of whom struggle even while working and receiving financial aid. A network of on-campus food pantries is growing, but this charitable response is not enough. Addressing student food insecurity requires broader institutional and government actions and more upstream responses. In particular, we must strengthen SNAP access for students.

Recent Accomplishments:

We have crafted and advocated for legislation and administrative policies to improve access to benefits and programs for college students:

Additionally, we have:

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MAZON Reacts to GAO Report on Food Insecurity Among College Students

MAZON’s Leadership on Lunch Shaming

Nearly half of all school districts nationwide either refuse to serve lunches to children who can’t pay for them, substitute less nutritious meals, or even brand children with overdue lunch bills with markers, often stigmatizing those children in the process – a practice known as “lunch shaming.”

Through the MAZON Advocacy Project (MAP), MAZON, along with its partner Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, launched the first successful effort to address this issue legislatively in 2014. The MAZON-sponsored bills SF 146 and HF 336 removed the mandatory school lunch co-payment for low-income Minnesota families, ensuring no child would ever be turned away from a school meal again and expanding the Minnesota State budget to support an additional 62,500 children in receiving free lunch. New Mexico has also recently passed an anti-shaming law, and California and Texas both have pending legislation to end public shaming of children. The practice, however, is vastly more widespread. Additional state and district-based work in dozens of states is required.

Recent Accomplishments:

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Why Lunch Shaming Persists