SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A state lawmaker says college students are going hungry because they can barely afford to go to school. Now, she wants to help them this legislative session. She’s proposing a pilot program on college campuses for students to have access to fresh, healthy food.
State Rep. Joanne Ferrary from Las Cruces says there are programs in elementary, middle and high schools to feed students. However, there aren’t set programs for New Mexico’s college students who are spending their money on books and rent — and not food.
“Getting a good, nutritious meal so they can think and produce the quality papers and things like that that they need,” said Rep. Ferrary. “We need to make sure they’re not going hungry.”
The pilot programs would depend on what the individual universities need, whether it’s expanding food banks or even working with campus dining to save leftover food for these students. Ferrary says she is trying to get the state to fund these ongoing programs and hopes to expand them to all campuses in the future.
“Every moment that we wait, every year that we wait to do other programs like this, we are keeping people from having healthy lives,” said Ferrary.
Rep. Ferrary says they’ve actually modeled House Bill 69 after a similar law that passed in Indiana. They’re asking for $100,000 during this session to establish the initial pilot programs.
There currently isn’t any information on the number of college students in New Mexico who are going hungry. However, Ferrary says the pilot program would help campuses report the need to the state.