What is Food Insecurity?

Food insecurity means that you have limited or uncertain access to nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.

We are here to help. To connect with a staff member to discuss your needs and learn more about available resources please complete our Basic Needs Assistance Form.

How to know if you or a fellow student may be struggling with food security?

  • Are you worried your food will run out before you have money to buy more food?
  • Recently, have you reduced the size of your meals or skipped meals because you do not have enough money to buy food?
  • This week, did you not eat for a whole day because there was not enough money for food?
  • Are you deciding between buying food and spending money on other necessary items, such as textbooks, rent, and utility bills?
  • Are you hungry but did not eat and/or are losing weight because there is not enough money to buy food?

Food Security Resources

Campus Resources

Office of Student Affairs

Staff in the Office of Student Affairs will work to understand your unique needs and identify appropriate on and off-campus resources and services.

Cardinal Kitchen

Cardinal Kitchen is Ball State University’s on-campus food pantry that offers nutritional items and hygiene products for students at no cost. The pantry is located in the Student Center and is available for use to all undergraduate and graduate students. We host weekly openings the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Tuesday over every month from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

When you visit the food pantry you will go to the Student Center room L26 (in the basement, near Cardinal Lanes Bowling Alley), where there will be lobby space for Cardinal Kitchen. You can fill out a paper form or utilize our electronic QR code to complete the form, and enter your BSU ID. The process for getting food and hygiene resources is discrete. Offices close at 5 p.m., and we try to put in extra effort to make sure every student feels comfortable getting these resources.

If a student would like to visit Cardinal Kitchen, but is unable to make one of our openings, they can contact us at cardkitch@bsu.edu. We will be more than happy to schedule another time for them to pick up items during the week. In addition, if a student is in quarantine, they can contact us at cardkitch@bsu.edu and we will schedule a time to drop off items outside their home.

We want you to know that this process is individualized and that we are here to offer you free resources to help you succeed while on campus! Come see us or follow us on Twitter @BSUCardKitchen or Facebook for updates and information.

What is Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move toward self-sufficiency. The average one-person household has a maximum SNAP allotment of $194 in Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT).

You can use SNAP like cash to buy food items at any store, supermarket, or co-op approved by the USDA. Items that can be purchased with SNAP benefits include breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish and poultry, and dairy products. SNAP recipients in Indiana may purchase groceries online for pick up or delivery at Amazon and Walmart.

Once you are determined eligible for SNAP you will receive a “Hoosier Works” card with your EBT. The Hoosier Works Card works like a bank debit card and Indiana cardholders can use their Hoosier Works card at any store in the United States that accepts food assistance.

Student Eligibility for SNAP

SNAP has temporarily expanded eligibility to include college students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education, who either:

  • Are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work-study during the regular school year, as determined by the institution of higher education, or
  • Have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year.

Students must meet all other financial and non-financial SNAP eligibility criteria.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is a program that provides cash assistance and supportive services to assist families with children under age 18, helping them achieve economic self-sufficiency.