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Cumming Campus establishes a food pantry

2018-10-22-Cumming Food Pantry edited
The University of North Georgia's Cumming Campus officially opened its food pantry Sept. 19 after collecting non-perishable goods. Amanda Smith, front desk assistant for the Cumming Campus, is managing the food pantry, which is located near the front desk of the Student Resource Center.

In the past three years, three University of North Georgia (UNG) campuses — Dahlonega, Gainesville and Oconee — have opened a food pantry to help students, faculty and staff facing food insecurity issues. This fall, UNG's Cumming Campus has joined the effort.

Amanda Smith, front desk assistant for the Cumming Campus, said the food pantry got started with one act from a Good Samaritan.

"Somebody dropped off donations of food for us," Smith said, adding she was advised to call Dr. Carly Redding, organizer of the inaugural food pantry on the Gainesville Campus, about starting a food pantry in Cumming. "At the beginning of the semester, the campus started collecting donations."

With enough non-perishable goods on hand after one month, the Cumming Campus officially opened its food pantry Sept. 19. Smith said now she is spreading the word.

"Any students, staff or faculty member of UNG who is in need can get food from the pantry," Smith said.

Food pantry hours are from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The pantry is located near the front desk of the Student Resource Center on the Cumming Campus.

Donations may be dropped off in bins on the main floor lobby. No volunteers are needed yet, but Smith said as word spreads and donations increase, she may need help in the future.

Spreading the word about the food pantry on the Gainesville Campus is a tactic Dr. Caroline Munoz's class for social media marketing is tackling this fall. Her students are helping four local nonprofits increase their reach and engagement on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. One of the four is the Gainesville Campus Food Pantry.

"The students will post and respond with consumers," Munoz said. "It's a lot of work, and the students are taking it seriously."

She said the consistent interaction on social media can help boost awareness about the food pantries.

The Gainesville Campus Food Pantry is not the only one experiencing a change. The Dahlonega Campus Food Pantry has a new manager. Sherry Parker, who has handled the pantry's paperwork since January 2017, is taking on extra duties such as promoting the pantry. It is work Parker is happy to do.

"We see kids every day who are hungry … and it breaks your heart," she said, explaining the response from those who partake of the food is heart-warming. "The students, faculty and staff are so appreciative for the food pantry."

The food pantry on the Oconee Campus, called "Nigel's Nest," also have a new development at this moment. Fresh squash and peas harvested from the community garden are available at the food pantry. The garden was established through an UNG LEAP Grant and students, faculty and staff work in the garden to grow and harvest the crops.

"When there is more produce than the university community can absorb, it is sent to a local area food bank," said Dr. Gary Adcox, director of campus success and strategic initiatives on UNG's Oconee Campus. "The students already have plans to extend the garden next year with additional items."

UNG food pantries

Cumming

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday

Location: Near the front desk of the Student Resource Center

More information: Contact Amanda Smith at Amanda.smith@ung.edu

Dahlonega

Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Tuesday

Location: First floor of the Vickery House across the street from Hansford Hall and Price Memorial. .

More information: Contact Sherry Parker at Sherry.Parker@ung.edu

Gainesville

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday

Location: Inside the Student Center next to the information desk

More information: Contact Scott Hefner at SFHEFN0741@ung.edu

Oconee

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesdays

Location: Room 728 inside Bishop Wellness and Activities Hall

More information: Contact Dr. Gary Adcox at gary.adcox@ung.edu or 706-310-6320.

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