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UNG food pantries thrive on Gainesville and Dahlonega campuses

University of North Georgia (UNG) education students relocated and reorganized the UNG Dahlonega Campus food pantry to a more convenient space in the Vickery House. It was part of their required service hours in the education class focused on exploring socio-cultural perspectives in diversity.

While University of North Georgia (UNG) assistant professor Dr. Carly Redding and UNG lecturer Rosann Kent dislike that UNG and other college campuses across the country have to have pantries to feed food insecure students, faculty and staff, both are pleased the UNG community is filling that need.

"It is unfortunate that students, staff and faculty have to use the pantry, but good that they are using the resource," said Redding, who supervises the Gainesville Campus food pantry.

The resource now has more to offer. This fall, the pantry on the Dahlonega Campus is providing fresh, perishable items thanks to donations from local farmers markets, said Rosann Kent, director of the Appalachian Studies Center and supervisor of the Dahlonega Campus food pantry. A donated freezer and refrigerator keeps items such as milk, eggs, bread, and butter fresh.

Food Pantry Information

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday in Vickery House

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the student center

Recommended donations include: toilet paper and wipes, protein bars, non-perishable milk and cereal, individual servings of microwaveable food and snacks as puddings and applesauce.

Five education students also undertook the monumental task of relocating and reorganizing the Dahlonega Campus' food pantry this summer. It was part of their required service hours in the education class focused on exploring socio-cultural perspectives in diversity.

The first task was moving the pantry from its second-floor home in the Vickery House of West Main Street to the more user-friendly first floor.

"It wasn't very accessible, because you had to go up the stairs of this old house," said UNG junior Amanda Carter, who was one of the students who worked on the project.

The next task involved sorting the food and determining what items to keep, toss and donate. The third was reorganizing. Kent said the student did a phenomenal job, far exceeding her expectations.

"The pantry now resembles an organized retail environment with labeled shelves and signage throughout," she said.

During the sorting process, the students inventoried the goods and created a new list of recommended donations. Some included non-perishable milk, protein or breakfast bars and tuna.

"And we realized we needed salt, pepper and other spices and condiments such as ranch dressing," Carter said. "No one thinks to donate it."

Redding agreed with a recommended donation list. She said hygiene items such as tampons, razors and deodorants are always at the top of her list.

Both campus pantries accept donations from parents, students and the community. The Gainesville Campus pantry also has a contract with the Georgia Mountain Food Bank for food.

The Dahlonega Campus food pantry will host two fall fundraisers. The first will be from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16. It will raise money for the pantry and the Hometown Harvest Hoop House located at the Vickery House. Area chefs will prepare locally grown food during the farm-to-table dinner at Hancock Park. Dessert will be served at Vickery House. Children 16 and older may attend. Tickets are $50 each and may be purchased online.

The second event will be from 7-9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, at Vickery House during "Don't Let Hunger Haunt You." Stories of haunts and hobgoblins will be shared. Admission is a couple of protein-rich foods such as canned chicken or tuna, peanut butter or boxed protein bars.

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