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Wed Oct 18, 2017, 08:58 PM

Saddened and Humbled by a Student

I call her "Picnic" because she brings a monster sized backpack full of food with her to class and eats most (sometimes all) of that food at during class. I could be annoyed, but she is good student who has class until 9pm. The other day, she was telling me she was looking for another job. She has a full time job, but it does not pay enough. She works and takes a full load of classes. Who am I to question her eating during our class at 12:30pm? It's lunch time! Or maybe "picnic time".

Today Picnic came to class without any food. She said she only had $2 and wanted to know how much the cafeteria charged for fries. I asked her why she didn't just use a credit card. She didn't have one. Why didn't she have one? "They" wouldn't let her have one. This was beginning to get confusing for me. Why wouldn't "they" let her have one? Because she is DACA.

Uh oh! New revelation for me! Obviously this is a common problem because I did a quick Google search and found a lot of people asking about it. You can get a secured credit card if you put down some collateral. But, then again, Picnic doesn't make enough at her full time job, so that option is out.

Today, Picnic chewed gum and told me how "they" said that chewing gum will relieve hunger. It wasn't really working for her, though. That was seven hours ago, and as I write this she has another hour of classes to go. Before you ask, I would have given her some cash if I had any, but I rarely carry cash on me. Class was beginning, I have two classes back to back, and Picnic leaves in between (I never see her after the first class). Yes, I did think of how I could get some food for her.

I sincerely hope Picnic found something to eat. I'll have to ask her about it during our next class. And, you know, maybe I'll start carrying some cash with me! In the meantime, "they" had better get their act together because I'm tired of "them" picking on my students!

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Arrow 38 replies Author Time Post
Reply Saddened and Humbled by a Student (Original post)
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 OP
Ilsa Oct 2017 #1
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #3
MyOwnPeace Oct 2017 #6
Honeycombe8 Oct 2017 #14
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #21
Honeycombe8 Oct 2017 #24
Tatiana Oct 2017 #2
MyOwnPeace Oct 2017 #8
burrowowl Oct 2017 #13
Duppers Oct 2017 #19
TheBlackAdder Oct 2017 #4
raging moderate Oct 2017 #7
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #10
BigmanPigman Oct 2017 #5
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #11
BigmanPigman Oct 2017 #12
MichMan Oct 2017 #31
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #33
Skittles Oct 2017 #9
Not Ruth Oct 2017 #30
KY_EnviroGuy Oct 2017 #15
Post removed Oct 2017 #16
fleabiscuit Oct 2017 #17
Name removed Oct 2017 #18
WhiskeyGrinder Oct 2017 #20
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #22
WhiskeyGrinder Oct 2017 #23
Snake Plissken Oct 2017 #25
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #26
Snake Plissken Oct 2017 #27
Not Ruth Oct 2017 #28
LisaM Oct 2017 #29
B2G Oct 2017 #32
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #34
B2G Oct 2017 #35
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #36
B2G Oct 2017 #37
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #38

Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 09:00 PM

1. You might look for a church pantry or food bank to get her to.

They might be more generous in getting her food she can pack and carry or prepare at home.

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 09:07 PM

3. I don't know the full story

I didn't ask if she just didn't have anything at home or forgot to pack. I don't know that I want to go there and potentially embarrass her. Maybe I can find a way of asking discreetly. I'll have to think about it.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 09:44 PM

6. Well stated.........

it is a difficult line to follow as to how to "try" to help. Don't want to offend - don't want to hurt - just want to help.............

Good luck!

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #3)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:01 AM

14. Does she cook? Cheaper than buying ready-made food. Pasta w/veggies, etc.

Eggs are a lot of protein for the money. $3 for an 18-egg pack.

If she's young, don't worry too much. I was very poor when young. They can go w/o much food easier than older people. I couldn't afford meat. I lived on canned green beans for a while. It's part of being young and on your own. Young people don't make much $.

Can she get food stamps, being DACA? I didn't because I didn't know about such things. No one to tell me. Sure wish I'd have known that I could have gotten that.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #14)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:20 PM

21. She usually brings a TON of homemade food

One XL tupperware container filled to the brim, 2-3 medium tupperware containers, and a whole mango that she peels with her teeth and gets juice everywhere. It's funny when she comes in and starts unpacking everything.

Like I said before, I'm not sure what happened this time around. Either she didn't have any leftovers, or she just forgot to pack them. I didn't ask her.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #21)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:24 PM

24. Mangos - one of my favorite fruits.

Well, she's not hurting THAT bad, if she could afford a mango. I do okay, but I rarely buy fresh mangos because of the cost. I just bought some frozen fruit (it's cheaper pound for pound than fresh), and it has some mango cubes in it. The fresh ones were too pricey.

Ah, youth. There were times when I went w/o eating at all....too busy partying.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 09:03 PM

2. I like to slip gift cards to grocery stores to my students in-need.

Not sure of your location, but I often do Jewel-Osco or Aldi.

This is becoming a problem. I teach elementary, but my students often complain of being hungry or try to sneak food from the cafeteria to go home. These families are afraid to apply for food assistance.

It's hard to accept the horrible turn this country is taking.

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Response to Tatiana (Reply #2)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 09:46 PM

8. Bless you...........

helping "your kids" - so many can't understand that that is what good teachers do!

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Response to Tatiana (Reply #2)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 11:28 PM

13. Good Idea gift card to a grocery store

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Response to Tatiana (Reply #2)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 11:28 AM

19. Excellent idea!

You are ----->

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 09:08 PM

4. Practically everyday, at Rutgers, there are meetings and conferences with a boatload of excess food.

Most of those meetings will ask folks to take food with them, since they don't know how to get rid of it without disposal. She could sit in on symposiums and meetings, while doing her homework, and take advantage of the free food.

Perhaps you could steer her towards some of those free period meetings or 5PM ones, where they cater the affair.

I don't know what activities your campus holds, but that could be a low cost option.

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 09:44 PM

7. That's what I used to do in college!

Yes, show her how to look for the meetings that serve food. I used to check the student newspaper, and those notices on bulletin boards and telephone poles. Also, several churches had student centers on my campus. They served a practically free Sunday night supper, and they were always very kind. If they are still there, she could go to them. Probably they could help her get food.

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 10:04 PM

10. I had a friend in grad school who survived that way

But this is community college, so fewer functions with food. I tried to remember if there had been any, but I didn't remember seeing any.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 09:37 PM

5. I can't believe no one would share or offer food!

While I was subbing and teaching at over 50 different schools from K-6 students I know that kids rarely ate all their food (the cookies and fried crap were the first to get eaten). Teachers and staff were laid off and reduced by 50% over 5 years and never were rehired so the ones left had to do lunch and recess duty (and take on the duties of librarians, nurses, custodians, psychologists, parking, secretary/office, etc.). I saw how much perfectly good food ended up in the trash it made me ill. A lot of it was free since most of the schools got Title 1 funding. Kids always shared their food, whether it was brought from home or obtained at school. I usually was fed by my students since they are so kind and it is just how they are. Even their parents brought home made, warm food for me since they made food from their own culture and I was always thrilled to try something new. I can't believe that older students wouldn't be as kind and willing to help as the elementary school kids unless kindness is age related. I DO know that older students are very mean and cruel and intentionally hurt anyone for no reason other than to be a mean teenager so perhaps they do not share food...that is possible I suppose.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 10:11 PM

11. I don't think it was the others being mean

One student who sits behind her had some Oreos, and he gave her a package. She told me the situation while there were still only a few students, and I don't they even heard what she said. Honestly, I don't know if she said anything to the other students. We had a workshop where they wrote their papers and I came around to help them with questions. So, she might have said something to one of the other students while I was helping someone on the other side of the room. Trust me, if she asked and another student had the cash, he or she would have gladly given it to her. The students at this college are very generous and look out for one another.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #11)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 10:21 PM

12. That IS good to know! THANKS.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #5)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:53 PM

31. Did she regularly share with them? nm

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Response to MichMan (Reply #31)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 02:12 PM

33. Most of what she brings is spoon and fork food

Mac and cheese, Chinese food, salad. She did let me try the watermelon flavored spaghetti candy with chile sauce.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Wed Oct 18, 2017, 09:56 PM

9. I remember my mum telling me how I always lost clothes when I was a kid

jackets, scarves, mittens

I told her, mum, I didn't lose them - I gave them away

and I did - to the poor kids

she said my dad had surmised that's where the clothes went

I wish her classmates would help her

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Response to Skittles (Reply #9)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:49 PM

30. Her classmates do not have food either, 60% of college kids are food insecure

 

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 01:16 AM

15. Thank you for caring about this young woman.

I know your compassion for her gives her strength. I can't believe we would deport any youth with this degree of aspiration for success. Perhaps she could pick up some part-time work at the college. I went through college on a work-study program that paid my tuition fees because my folks couldn't afford it.

Teachers may be our savior in this country and I'm very proud of my daughter who teaches 5th grade reading classes in a public school. She has to buy a lot of materials each year for her classes out of her own pocket, which is shameful for the USA.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)


Response to Post removed (Reply #16)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 01:43 AM

17. Is English your second language? nt

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Response to fleabiscuit (Reply #17)


Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 11:31 AM

20. Maybe don't call her "Picnic," in the meantime.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #20)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:21 PM

22. I'm calling her by her nickname for the purposes of this thread

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #22)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:23 PM

23. Got it.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:29 PM

25. Our Mary Antonette Wannabe in the White House can't understand how this is possible

since he tossed a few rolls of paper towels down in San Juan.

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Response to Snake Plissken (Reply #25)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:35 PM

26. That was my point in writing this

The credit card issue has been around longer than IT has, but now she has to worry about being rounded up on top of eating.

If Obama were still here, the concern would be how to make credit cards more easily obtainable, not how to find and arrest these people.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #26)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:39 PM

27. I know; Any sense of decency and humanity has been flipped upside down

I expected this from Trump, but what amazes me the most is the Christian Right, they don't seem to support anything that is Christian, or anything that is right

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:43 PM

28. Most college students in the US are food insecure, the colleges need to address this issue

 

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/food-nearly-60-percent-of-college-students-food-insecure-013014

Nearly 60 Percent of College Students Are 'Food Insecure'
Written by Shawn Radcliffe on January 30, 2014
Fact Checked
A new study shows that an unexpectedly large number of college students are unable to find or afford nutritious food.

Many students worry about gaining weight during their first year of college—the so-called "freshman 15." But an unexpectedly large number of students may be unable to afford nutritious food, putting their physical health, mental well-being, and academic performance at risk.

While research on the extent of this problem among college students is limited, a new study published Jan. 9 in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that 59 percent of students at a midsize university in Oregon were food insecure at some point during the previous year. That means they had limited or uncertain access to nutritious and safe foods.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 12:49 PM

29. I always carry cash, and things like this are part of the reason.

I remember being a poor student and living on oranges and hard boiled eggs till I got my next paycheck. If someone had handed me a twenty, it would have changed my world.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Original post)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 01:02 PM

32. I'm curious as to what changed in her situation.

 

Going from tearing through a 'monster' sized backpack of food every day to having nothing at all? Did she lose her job? Doesn't sound like it.

Seems weird.

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Response to B2G (Reply #32)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 02:17 PM

34. It was weird

The fact that she stressed having only two dollars made me think she had gone over her budget and was waiting until her next paycheck.

The ironic thing about all this is that she told me a couple weeks ago she might have to miss class for a job interview. She showed up the day she had said she might miss and told me they had turned her down for the job. It was a shame because she could have been a cashier at Wells Fargo! They pay the astronomical wage of $14 per hour, and that was much better than what she is currently making. Considering this latest development, I can't help but wonder if they would have given her a credit card, too.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #34)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 02:19 PM

35. You aren't just 'given' a credit card.

 

Even if you work for a bank. You have to qualify for one.

And if she isn't making enough money to make monthly payments, the only good it would do her is to ruin any credit she might have and run up a bunch of late fees and interest.

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Response to B2G (Reply #35)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 02:35 PM

36. Yes, but if she worked for WF they would know her monthly income

That's what I meant. Plus, she would have been pulling in more than she is currently.

I had this discussion with my wife last night. Can you imagine living without a credit card? You would have to think ahead a couple of days and withdraw enough money. I know there are ATMs everywhere, but most of them charge a fee. Whether or not someone will accept a check is iffy. This woman is working full time and taking a full load of classes. She doesn't have a spare second to drive to the bank and take out more money.

I agree with you, however, about the risks of owning a credit card. She could easily get into serious trouble. Maybe she knows this and it is the reason for her reluctance to find a company that will issue her one.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #36)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 02:36 PM

37. Debit card.

 

Used just like a credit card but the money is taken directly out of your checking account.

How does someone not know that?

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Response to B2G (Reply #37)

Thu Oct 19, 2017, 02:40 PM

38. Thanks for reminding me

I did ask her about a debit card. That's when she repeated the two dollar remark. So she meant she only had two dollars in her account at the time. I think that's what she was getting at when she asked the other students how much fries cost in the cafeteria.

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