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DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – For many cash-strapped college students, school is a daunting and overwhelming time.

Now, many community colleges and universities are reporting that financial strains are causing many of the students to go hungry. For example, The University of North Texas in Denton is one of a handful of schools across the state that’s battling campus hunger by offering a food pantry for needy students. It opened a year ago.

UNT Sophomore Cesar Ramirez said he usually visits the pantry for food about 2 to 3 times a week. “There’s been times where I don’t have a enough to get my own food,” said Ramirez, who considers the pantry inside UNT’s union a life saver. “One of the hardest moments would be whenever you have to decide whether to pay your rent or have something to eat.”

The Associate Dean of Students, Rodney Mitchell who oversees the pantry program, said administrators identified a need for the service after research suggested a large number of students couldn’t afford meals and were starving.

“We have students that need food. They need food to be successful,” said Mitchell.

Administrators at UNT said they fully expect that as the university grows in numbers so will the need to feed hungry students.

“Just last week we broke a thousand visits. So we’ve seen the use of the pantry increase,” added Mitchell.

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