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Ashley (left), Rob and Nick (last names withheld), students at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, hand out snacks in front of Smokey’s Pantry at Tyson House, the Lutheran- Episcopal campus ministry. “We’re building a diverse, supportive community, and at the heart of that is upholding everyone’s dignity,” said John Tirro, campus pastor.

resources to give support in return.” Tammy Dahlvang, campus pastor of Crossroads

Campus Ministry, the Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Minnesota–Mankato, said investing in their future can come at an unfair price for students. “The severity of graduating with that much debt and knowing you might not get a job engenders a sense of poverty I don’t think used to exist,” she said. Crossroads operates Campus Cupboard, a

food pantry that’s an expansion of its weekly meal program called “Lunch 4 $1.” “Campus ministries are uniquely positioned

to help fight hunger and we historically have,” Dahlvang said. “There is a lot of hunger and homelessness on college campuses. Any


Student intern Ashley Crosby works at Crossroads Campus Ministry’s Campus Cupboard, a food and toiletry pantry for students at the University of Minnesota–Mankato. “Being poor now as a college student isn’t the same as it used to be,” said Tammy Dahlvang, campus pastor.

congregation member who reads this can find a campus ministry to help support.” Many congregations have done just that.

All of the campus ministries mentioned in this article, and others, have partnerships with local congregations that either help provide affordable housing, donate items to pantries or take turns cooking the weekly student meals. Campus pastors say the student poverty issue

has caused some students to choose between their education and their well-being, and many have dropped out because their debt hit a level they couldn’t manage. While the causes of student poverty are complex and amorphous, Johnson says places like Agape House and other campus ministries can serve as resources for students. “All of this work is about

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saving lives,” Johnson said. “This is how the church can get involved and show how church can save and heal. A lot of these people haven’t experienced church in this way before, and when they do they give it a second look.”

Brandsrud is an associate editor of Living Lutheran.

Photo courtesy of Tyson House

USDOT 72029

Photo courtesy of Crossroads Campus Ministry

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