Fourth Estate/Billy Ferguson

More Money, Less Problems


In an inflated economy where prices constantly rise, college students are at the center of it all. We are literally penny-pinching to buy gas and groceries it’s not fun. 

If someone even attempted to rob us they would be not only disappointed but essentially practicing. It wouldn’t even count.

Some on-campus resources and even local food pantries can help you save money and not have to worry about spending money on groceries. Food insecurity is an issue many college students face.

According to Drexel University, 20 to 50 percent of college students in the U.S. experience food insecurity, which is considerably higher than that of the general population. 

Although many college students don’t recognize eating ramen every night to save money as being food insecure it is. Many resources can help students gain access to healthier food options without costing them anything.

One resource is Patriot Pantry which is located on campus and helps students with hygiene and non-perishable food items. They are accessible to students as long as they are taking at least one class the semester they are using it.

Some other food pantries near Mason include: 

FISH: is a non-profit organization that helps people with assistance in areas such as food, clothing, financial assistance for rent or mortgage, utility bills, gasoline, and prescriptions. In order to receive service, you must be screened first which can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.  

ECHO: is a charity organization that can help with emergency food, clothing, diapers, housewares, school supplies, and limited financial assistance with rent, utilities, and car repairs. 

FACETS: offers programs that helped with hypothermia, ending homelessness, and education programs. 

FOOD for Others: offers emergency food referral programs for anyone in need. Limited to 1 referral week and 8 referrals for a whole year. 

Lorton Community Action: helps people who reside in the Southeast portion of Fairfax county. They offer a food pantry, nutrition courses, and personal care items. They offer support for families and single mothers. They have a wide variety of support they offer.

St. Leo’s Catholic Church: offers a shopping-style food pantry but will need verifiable information to schedule an appointment to access food. 

The Salvation Army: many programs to help support you in whatever way you may need. Some of the programs include counseling, shelter services, domestic violence services, and other health services. They also can help with bills but will need verifiable information. 

Women’s Center:  located in Vienna provides access to counseling, helpful workshops, clothes and food. Counseling is done on a sliding scale that is affordable to you and your situation. There are many resources here to help support you.

Then you have SNAP benefits! After applying and receiving the life-saving EBT (electronic benefit transfer)  card your situation will drastically improve. EBT is a physical card and looks similar to a debit card. The EBT card holds your food stamps and can pay for all your groceries at stores like Wegmans, Giant, Walmart, and Aldi. It’s surprisingly easy to qualify especially as a student and someone who lives in Fairfax County. 

Although these sources can take up a bit of your time they save you hundreds of dollars each month. Think about the end goal and frankly taking care of yourself and getting your needs meet. 

Remember that no matter your situation there are sources to help you. Reach out and don’t be afraid there are people here to help!