UGA has many student organizations dedicated to providing help abroad, but a student-led initiative on campus aims to help those a little closer to home-and stamp out hunger on campus.
On Sept. 8, the UGA Student Food Pantry opened in Room 208 of Memorial Hall. The pantry will provide food for students in need. Shelves are stocked with fare including Ramen noodles, cans of soup, boxed macaroni and cheese, tuna, cereal and cookie mix.
The pantry is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or by appointment. Anyone wanting to access the pantry will first check in with volunteers across the hall in Room 206, fill out a waiver, show a valid UGA ID and then be allowed to shop for food. No proof of need is required.
The pantry is geared mostly toward students, but will serve any member of the university community with a UGA ID.
A group of approximately 20 student organizations helps to stock and staff the pantry. Its motto is “Dawgs helping Dawgs” and is by students, for students.
“It comes back to that old saying ‘you can’t fill other people’s bucket if your own isn’t full,’ ” said Abbey Warren, a senior from Marietta majoring in communication studies. “We just thought it was a neat way to focus on our own students.”
Kerrie Grunnet, a junior from Conyers majoring in biological science with a minor in public health, said it’s an overlooked need on campus.
“With the economy, with the changes in HOPE, we don’t want anyone to go hungry,” she said. “We have the opportunity to provide someone groceries for the week or a snack while they’re on campus, or both.”
And while there are food pantries in Athens, a food pantry on campus might be more comfortable and convenient for students.
“If you get out of class at 1 p.m., and you want to grab some groceries before you take the bus home, it’s right here,” Grunnet said.
Alan Campbell, assistant vice president for student affairs and head of student support services, said that he sees students every day who could benefit from this resource.
“Increasingly in our office, I see students with severe financial hardships: students whose parents have lost their jobs, students who are wondering where their next meal is coming from, students who are struggling to figure out how they can remain here at the university. These students come from all walks of life, you would not know them if you saw them on the street,” he said. “They are struggling silently and afraid to let people know how much they’re hurting, often because of their pride, because of their concern about being judged, because they don’t know where to turn to for help.
“I’m excited for the students that will benefit from this, and I’m eager to have another resource to refer students to,” Campbell said at the ribbon-cutting. The pantry has been in the works for about a year. It’s modeled after food pantries at the University of Arkansas, Central Florida University and Florida State University, though UGA’s differs in that it is run entirely by student organizations.
Megan Janasiewicz, adviser to the Panhellenic Council, counsels the group working on the food pantry.
“It’s very much on the cutting edge. I think we’ll see more of these popping up on college campuses,” she said. “It’s a good service initiative for the campus, and it’s such a simple concept. Why wouldn’t we be doing this?”
For more information about the pantry or to donate items email, email@example.com. To make a financial contribution, checks payable to UGA Student Food Pantry can be sent to: UGA Student Food Pantry, 153 Tate Student Center, Athens, GA 30602