In the 90’s, I knew lots of students who lived on ramen noodles and microwave burritos. None of them were on food stamps.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Many college students going hungry, need donated food groceries and food stamps

A nitro cold brew sells for $5, and a large mocha for $4.50 at a popular coffee and muffin bar in UC Berkeley’s student union. Downstairs, business is just as brisk at another food emporium.

The provisions there are free.

“I’m low on funds,” shrugged Christopher, a junior, as he stuffed apple juice, a half gallon of milk, a box of peanut butter Puffin cereal and two cans of organic pinto beans and sweet corn — the UC Berkeley Food Pantry’s five-item limit — into his backpack.

Christopher, who asked that his last name not be used, said he depends on the pantry’s donated groceries to make ends meet, especially during emergencies. Someone slashed his tire last week, he said, and now he’s out $110 for a new one. Without the help, he’d have to make a choice: wheels or food.

Faced with such choices, students often skip the nutrition.

Christopher is one of thousands of UC Berkeley students who rely on the Food Pantry for help — records show 1,549 unique visits in September alone — and many are also signing up for food stamps, known as CalFresh, that can provide up to $192 a month for groceries.

More than 500 UC Berkeley students have applied for food stamps since January, up from 111 in all of 2016, and just 41 the year before, said Michael Altfest, spokesman for the Alameda County Community Food Bank, which helps students fill out the forms.