Kenyatta, Policy Committee discuss hunger free campus legislation

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 29 – Today, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss legislation, H.B. 2005, he introduced with Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, that would combat widespread food insecurities among college and university students across Pennsylvania.

“For students, it’s difficult to deal with hunger-induced headaches and hunger pangs while also trying to focus on their studies. It’s a silent struggle that up to 30% of all students endure and a reason why many drop out,” Kenyatta said, adding that he too was a hungry college student. “As public servants, it’s our duty to ensure that residents in our commonwealth have access to healthy foods. Futures are at stake here.”

Kenyatta said his legislation aims to create a grant program that would help colleges and universities eliminate campus hunger.

Testifiers during the hearing included Cathy Buhrig, director of Bureau of Policy for the Office of Income Maintenance, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Aaron Rey Ebreo, director of student basic needs, Temple Student Government; Sara Goldrick-Rab, founder, Hope Center for College, Community and Justice professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology, Temple University; Pam Frontino, associate director of Service-Learning & Volunteer Programs, West Chester University; and Allison Mootz, vice president and dean of Student Affairs, Manor College.

This hearing was one in a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, a legislative and policy agenda focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing healthcare access, creating quality schools and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. More information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com. Hearing materials will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.