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UTEP and El Pasoans Fighting Hunger present research results on the Root Causes of Poverty

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA)-- UTEP, in collaboration with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank and other organizations, presented the results of a study on Wednesday.

The results used research to identify the root causes of poverty and figure out how to build food security equity in the borderland.

Researchers surveyed the population to establish baseline levels of community needs. It was used to measure the impact of future intervention efforts on community well-being.

According to the study, 35% of El Pasoans and 61% of UTEP students faced food insecurity last year.

UTEP’s research, relied on responses from 657 El Paso County residents and more than 1,000 UTEP students.

Greg Schober, assistant professor of rehabilitation sciences at UTEP, said the new survey was needed because no previous data existed that adequately represented El Paso.

"One component was looking at food insecurity in El Paso county, another component was a literature review to look at the root causes of poverty, another component was to look at food insecurity and other basic needs insecurity at UTEP and efforts implementation plans to try to address those insecurities among UTEP students," said Schober.

He adds the root causes of poverty are a lack of education and a lack of employment opportunities. He says that's why they are addressing food insecurity among youth such as students.

Eva Moya, UTEP associate professor in the department of social work, started looking at the food insecurity of the student population in 2019. In the first year of the research, 40% of students reported having food insecurity. In 2020 and 2021 Moya said the percentage dropped slightly.

To address this issue, a student council was created six months ago with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students to offer solutions.

Some of the recommendations included better access and flexible hours at the food pantry at the university, removing the stigma of asking for help, having more produce and creating a food garden on campus.

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Noelia Gonzalez

KVIA ABC-7 Good Morning El Paso Producer


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