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A Glimpse of Hunger at ASU

By Billie K. Fidlin, Director of Outreach & Justice, and Rev. Jamie Booth, ASU Valley Wesley

There are students on university campuses across the country who have difficulty securing regular meals during the best of times. In these times of COVID-19, this has become even more of a challenge for many. Students have lost jobs, lost scholarships, have had safe transportation issues. Times are difficult for many in our nation, and some students are facing equally difficult circumstances.

For some context, ASU has over 100,000 students in the metro-Phoenix area, most of which are on the Tempe campus. Students who attend come from every “walk of life” imaginable. Some students come from families with means. Others come from poverty and are doing the best they can to receive an education to better their lives.

A recent statistic cited by ASU Wesley Campus Minister, Rev. Jamie Booth, found that 14% of students at 4-year institutions were facing housing instability. (Goldrick-Rab, Baker-Smith, Coca, Looker, & Williams, 2019) This may mean they’re sleeping in the library and showering at the gym. It may mean sleeping in a car. It may mean sleeping in a different friend’s dorm room every night. While Rev. Booth had not seen these content-specific statistics specific to ASU, she shared,

“If we assume those statistics hold true… that would be around 14,000 students. Now multiply this times all four of our campus ministries, and you’re looking at 10’s of thousands of students who are housing instable in our Conference.”

Many more may have housing security but still lack regular access to food.

Pre-COVID, the ASU Foodbank was helping about 400 students a semester across seven sites. However, earlier this year, one week saw 200 students signed up for nutrition assistance on the Tempe campus alone. This illustrates the increase in students needing assistance during these most difficult times of pandemic.

Our campus ministries are asking for our help. VISA gift cards in $20 increments would be great, or cash assistance. Once we can gather together in person again, each of the ministries would welcome meal assistance – there’s nothing like home cooking! You can contact the ministries for more information.

Campus Ministry Contacts

Source Cited:


Editor’s Note:

Find out more about the 2021 Desert Southwest Annual Conference Mission Project and resources for local church use at https://dscumc.org/annual-conference/mission-project/.

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About the author

Billie K. Fidlin

Billie K. Fidlin is the Director of Outreach & Justice for the Desert Southwest Conference. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University and attended Claremont School of Theology for religious studies. Ms. Fidlin currently serves as the President of the Arizona Faith Network in her second term. She is President & Founder of Whisper n Thunder Inc., and sits on various boards including the Justa Center and the Phoenix Police Department's Faith Advisory Council. Her awards include the UM Foundation for Evangelism 2004 Distinguished Evangelist; 2016 Church Women United / United Nations Human Rights Award; 2018 Servant Leader Award AZ Faith Network; 2022 Southern Poverty Law Center Certificate of Recognition; and 2022-23 Class of Who's Who in America.

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