One in seven Americans, including 12 million children, are food insecure. In Georgia, one in six people faces hunger. But, did you know food insecurity extends to college students as well?

Earlier this month, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which works to end hunger with the food, people and big ideas needed to ensure Atlantans have the nourishment to lead healthy and productive lives, invited local college students to take part in its Alternative Spring Break.

The three-day immersive program, hosted March 12-14, was designed to educate students and provide hands-on training on becoming effective anti-hunger advocates.

Fourteen students from Clark Atlanta University, Gwinnett Technical College, Morehouse College and Spelman College participated in the program.

“More and more students are opting out of trips to the beach or other traditional spring break destinations for meaningful experiences, where they can make an impact,” explained Jasmine Payne, an advocacy and education specialist for the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “We are delighted to offer an Alternative Spring Break for students to learn about real life issues that affect their neighbors and quite possibly some of their peers.”

With the rising costs of tuition, books, housing, and food, it should come to no surprise that even college students are finding it difficult to make ends meet. According to the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, 48 percent of respondents reported facing food insecurity in the previous 30 days, including 22 percent with very low levels of food security.

The interactive three-day session was open to Metro Atlanta college students and included volunteer opportunities, educational tours of local resources, group studies on programs and meet-and-greets with individuals who are making strides to be part of the solution.

During the Alternative Spring Break, students sorted donated products at the Food Bank’s Product Rescue Center, met with lawmakers at the Georgia Capitol, conducted a tour in multiple gardens, visited Hammond’s House museum and discovered ways on how to approach lobbying to influence political figures.

Dawn has ascended through the ranks at the The Atlanta Voice. Starting out as Sports Editor in 2017, Montgomery currently serves as the Chief Brand Officer. Montgomery earned a Bachelor's degree from Oglethorpe...

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