Challenges on Campus

Lacy’s determination to secure a bright future for herself and her two boys propels her through the challenges of college life. Enrolled at Elizabethtown Community & Technical College, she’s steadily progressing through the Electrical Engineering and Technology track, fueled by her aspirations to make a better life for her family.

As a single mother balancing her studies with the responsibilities of parenthood, Lacy is constantly worried about providing nourishment for her family, which often threatens to derail her focus from her educational pursuits.

“A lot of times when I am in class I’m thinking, ‘oh did I lay something out for dinner’ or more often  ‘do I have something to lay out for dinner’ – which distracts and pulls me away from my studies,” said Lacy.

The mixture of food insecurity and stress of college leads many food insecure students, like Lacy, to perform poorly at their studies and also contributes to lower attendance and completion rates. Despite the challenges she faces, Lacy remains resolute in her pursuit of a career that her sons can look up to.

“I want to show them that I can be the provider that I’ve always wanted to be for them,” said Lacy.

Emily, another hardworking mother and student at Hopkinsville Community College (HCC), is also doing her best to provide for her family of five while getting her nursing degree.

“I work full-time at a grocery store, but I can’t afford most of the food on the shelves. Shopping at my college’s food pantry instead has made all the difference for my family,” Emily said.

The harsh realities of food insecurity cast a shadow over many college students’ aspirations. For these moms, spiraling grocery prices coupled with the unpredictable nature of their circumstances often leave them grappling with uncertainty.

Food insecurity in college students is largely under-recognized, under-examined and under-addressed. In fact, prior to the pandemic, 30% of all college students experienced food insecurity during their time in college.

Lacy, Emily, and the students served by HCC and FSC in partnership with FAKH are able to keep dinner on the table for their families and while still focusing on their goals for better futures

“When I come in and see other people using this resource I know I’m not alone,’ said Lacy.