Associated Students began collecting dona- tions earlier this week to provide non-perishable food and toiletries to students who skip meals to cut back on expenses.

Responding to rising tuition costs, the Graduate Student Association, Alumni Association and A.S. mobilized a student-run food bank to assist struggling students. Students can already donate non-perishable foods such as cereal, canned foods and snacks to one of several drop-off sites located on campus, although food pick-up is not available until the week of April 18.

A.S. and the Graduate Student Association recently surveyed 2,135 UCSB students to deter- mine how often students skip meals out of finan- cial necessity. The survey revealed that 23 percent of students skipped meals a few times monthly, 17.3 percent skipped meals bimonthly and 6.3 percent skipped meals daily.

Guadalupe Cruz, a second-year sociology major and commissioner of student services for the office of the A.S. president, said the food bank should be utilized by all students.

“The budget cuts and the student fee increases are affecting students greatly, as well as work not being available for students,” Cruz said. “There aren’t a lot of jobs out there so students don’t have enough money for rent or books. [A.S.] feels that students shouldn’t be going to class hungry and students should have the ability to succeed in the university without having to worry about the basic necessities in life, such as food.”

The food bank will be available to any UCSB undergraduate or graduate student with an ACCESS card. Drop-off locations include the A.S. Bike Shop, A.S. Main Office, A.S. Legal Resource Center, A.S. Annex, A.S. Storke Communications Tower Complex, main lobby of Davidson Library, Educational Opportunity Program Office and Gevirtz School of Education building.

Food pick-ups will be made available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. at a location to be deter- mined.