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The United States Department of Agriculture estimates 1 in 8 Americans were food insecure in 2020, resulting in a total of 38 million Americans struggling with the resources required to have access to adequate food. According to NC State’s Division of Academic and Student Affairs, since the pandemic began, 25% of students have experienced food insecurity within a 30-day period. The Carolina Cubbard similarly reports that 22% of graduate and undergraduate students experience food insecurity. The causes of food insecurity are complex, but it can affect an individual’s ability to thrive physically and mentally, as well as cause significant stress that can impact all aspects of a person’s well-being. 

In addition to UNC and NC State’s food insecurity resources, the Joint Department is providing additional resources that can assist anyone within the department with meeting nutritional and food security needs.

Nutrition on a Budget

Budget Bytes 

Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten Free? Omnivore? No problem – Budget Bytes has you covered. Think of this resource as a one-stop shop for making delicious, uncomplicated meals on a budget. Highlights of this website include over 1,300 free recipes available online, filtering recipes by cost, knowing the cost of the recipe before cooking, searching for recipes by ingredients you already have, Dollar Store meal ideas, and meal prep recipes.

Cooking on a budget shouldn’t mean canned beans and ramen noodles night after night. Welcome to the world of delicious recipes designed for small budgets.

Budget Bytes was born in 2009 when founder, Beth Moncel, was drowning in student loan debt and trying to make ends meet on a meager hourly wage. She began calculating down to the penny everything she was spending on food. After a few quick calculations, Beth started noticing some patterns… Some ingredients were budget busters and some were budget savers! So she started to strategically craft recipes, tweaking the ratios of budget-savers and budget-busters, always making sure to use simple ingredients that would also leave her satisfied. Being the nerdy number cruncher she is, Beth couldn’t wait to share the recipes with the world.”

Use Budget Bytes’ Getting Started Guide for a quick introduction. Help keep track of recipes you’d like to try with a free Pinterest Account — Budget Bytes supports pinning recipes directly to Pinterest to make it easier to organize and reference your favorites.

NC State Nutrition and Food Security Resources

NC State and campus partners have developed many programs to support students needing food, housing, financial and educational security. The Pack Essentials program brings them all into one centralized space with a common application to apply for resources.

Academic and Student Affairs continuously updates Pack Essentials to connect you to resources you may need to support your material or physical needs.

Located at 2221 Dunn Ave. in the Quad Commons, the Feed the Pack Food Pantry stocks food, household, and hygiene items. The Feed the Pack website has also assembled a list of community resources if you can’t make it to campus or the Feed the Pack Food Pantry is closed. Please bring your NC State ID with you when you come to the pantry. Any and all students, faculty, and staff are welcome!
Recognizing the scope of food insecurity on campus, Student Government led the way in advocating for a student-to-student meal sharing program and is pleased to announce a new partnership with NC State Dining and the Student Ombuds for students facing short-term food insecurity. Through the donation of guest meals from student meal plans, a pool of meals has been established for students who find themselves temporarily without food options. These meals can be added to a student ID card to allow entry into Fountain, Clark, and Case (breakfast and lunch only) Dining Halls, Oval food court and the Wolves Den cafe at the College of Veterinary Medicine creating easy and discrete access to meals at no cost. Visit the common Pack Essentials application to apply.
Full and partial meal plan scholarships may be available to students experiencing difficulty in paying for a semester meal plan.  These meal plan scholarships are need-based, subject to financial aid considerations and provided by donors to the Division of Academic and Student Affairs. Visit the common Pack Essentials application to apply.
More in My Basket is a program developed at North Carolina State University/Cooperative Extension that helps reduce hunger by connecting North Carolina residents to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Did you know that NC State Dining employees eat for free each shift they work? Dining also offers competitive salaries and flexible schedules for student employees. Learn more and apply.
Most campus residence halls offer a community kitchen for students to cook meals. Cookware items are available at the residence hall information desk.
A Place at the Table is a pay-what-you-can nonprofit cafe at 300 W. Hargett St. Suite 50 in downtown Raleigh. Serving breakfast and lunch, people can pay the suggested price, pay more, pay half of the suggested price, or pay by volunteering. All are welcome in our cafe!
Use this map to click on an area, showing SNAP Retailers, Food Pantries, Farmer’s Markets and Community Gardens within a one-mile radius of the selected point.
UNC-Chapel Hill Nutrition and Food Security Resources

UNC’s main resource for student assistance with food insecurity is Carolina Cupboard. However, Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents also have access to the Interfaith Council for Social Service, which provides comprehensive assistance for any resident in need (including food insecurity). Information on both programs is provided below.

An on-campus food pantry that provides food at no cost to students.

Located in Avery Residence Hall’s basement (295 Ridge Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514), which can be accessed through the side doors.

Edible Campus Satellite Gardens: garden beds across campus that are free for a passerby to pick and forage responsibly.

Locations: Davis Library, Fetzer Gym, Graham Residence Hall, Hardin Residence Hall, Lenoir Dining Hall, Rams Head Plaza, SASB Plaza, Stacy Residence Hall

The IFC Food Pantry provides fresh produce, pantry staples, and hygiene items at no cost to households where someone lives or works in Chapel Hill or Carrboro.

IFC also hosts a Community Kitchen that is open seven days a week to anyone in need.

Orange County has information and a link to an online application here to a federal program that provides a monthly allotment of benefits issued via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT cards) that can be used like debit cards.

The Food and Nutrition Services Program is an entitlement program, so all eligible individuals and households can receive assistance, but eligibility for college students may vary. Information about program requirements for students can be found here.