For the third year in a row, the South Hall Rotary Club has awarded the University of North Georgia’s Food Pantry with their annual community impact grant. This year’s the club awarded the Food Pantry $5,000 which translates into 25,000 meals.
The UNG Food Pantry was started as a project of the HSDA student organization to work with students and gain real-world experience for volunteer hours. The project has now morphed into a full-time job that reaches every level of the campus.
The UNG Food Pantry serves numerous food insecure students, staff, and faculty on the Gainesville Campus during school hours. The organization was quick to mobilize to provide curbside service and meet the demand for online request over the course of the past year outside of school hours.
Graduate Student Director Dominque Allen shared with the South Hall Rotary club that they had to do things differently this past year because of COVID. “When the campus shifted to online learning, we had an increase in the need for food from students, faculty, and staff. We had to move to doing online orders and curbside services to help those who needed it the most.”
The student run organization saw the number of people served skyrocket this past year. However, the availability to raise funds and find grants became more difficult.
“We do not receive any funding from the University system for this project. Everything is funded through grants and donations,” stated faculty advisor Dr. Carly Redding. She shared that grants like the one we provided have literally helped them feed thousands over the last few years.
The UNG Food Pantry provides non-perishable and some perishable food items and basic supplies to students and staff in need. These volunteers assist by managing the location, collecting donations, as well as keeping the pantry stocked and clean.
During the course of this year, the program was actually able to coordinate with other programs in the South Hall area to assist a greater population of those facing food insecurity in our community.
“This program has grown to impact so many in our area that don’t know where they are getting their next meal,” said Club President Amanda Groover. “Our club made extra efforts to ensure that we could continue our support during a year where they have seen such an increase in demand.”
The South Hall Rotary Club is excited to partner with this organization that not only supports those in need in our area but also supports students who are working to better themselves.