In November, President Emmanuel Macron’s government spent 10 million euros on 300,000 food parcels for students. But more is needed, a spokesperson for the umbrella organisation for student associations in France, FAGE, said in an interview with the French news platform Euronews.
According to FAGE, students spend half their income on housing and are struggling as a result of the large recent price increases. One in five live below the poverty line, and among those living away from home that number is said to be even higher.
The relief organisation Linkee started distributing food parcels to French students during the pandemic. Since then, the organisation has handed out a total of 150,000 parcels. Every day, at least 500 parcels are distributed in Paris alone. According to the organisation, a recent survey showed that 55 percent of students who are struggling financially are undernourished.
According to a sociologist in French newspaper Le Monde, these are mostly students who are the first in their family to enrol in higher education and who receive little financial support from their parents.
In the Netherlands, national student organisations LSVb and ISO have also received reports of students turning to food banks for aid. But students do not meet Food Banks Netherlands’ qualification criteria because “they are expected to be able to support themselves through student financing, side jobs and/or a financial contribution from their parents”. Exceptions are sometimes made, however, for example for students with children.