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UNG's Gainesville Campus Food Pantry goes mobile and will expand

2019-05-31-Mobile-Food-Pantry-1
About 64 households totaling 252 individuals received groceries from the University of North Georgia's Food Pantry during a roadside-style market event in April on the edge of UNG's Gainesville Campus. Organizers deemed the event successful and plans to have mobile food pantry events in the fall 2019 semester.

When Dominique Allen realized the University of North Georgia (UNG) Food Pantry on the Gainesville Campus hit its third anniversary, she wanted to celebrate.

"I thought, 'Let's do a birthday party and serve people,'" the senior pursuing a bachelor's degree in human services delivery and administration said.

Her idea evolved into a mobile food pantry to serve UNG faculty, staff and students, as well as community members. On April 24, student volunteers and Dr. Carly Redding, associate professor of sociology and human services at UNG, set up a roadside-style market for six hours in the park and ride lot near the corner of Atlanta Highway and Thurmon Tanner Parkway.

"I wanted to hold it away from campus so people wouldn't feel singled out," Allen said. "I wanted people to feel comfortable picking up food and knowing they are not the only ones in need."

The 27-year-old from Gainesville, Georgia, said she strategically hosted the event the last week of classes to allow students and faculty in need to focus on final exams instead of food.

"I wanted them to come and get food to have it in their fridge before their tests," said Allen, assistant director of the UNG Food Pantry.

It worked. Redding said they served more students, faculty, staff and community members than an entire month at UNG's Food Pantry. According to the data collected, more than 64 households totaling 252 individuals received the groceries.

"At times, we had 20-30 people in line and then maybe two to three people at a time," Allen said. "It was amazing. I saw students who I have never seen before at the food pantry."

"Please take as much as you need," was a common phrase repeated to motorists who drove up. Many did and expressed their gratitude.

"We had a lot of people come up and say, 'I just ran out of my food stamps and we need something to get us to the 15th of the month,'" Allen said.

The Georgia Mountain Food Bank provided the boxes filled with food, which ranged from frozen chicken breasts to bakery-style bread. The nonprofit supplies UNG's food pantry with goods on a weekly basis.

Redding, director of the UNG Food Pantry, said she wished the mobile pantry could be a daily option. Based on its success, more events will be held in the future.

"We will not do it over the summer, but we will conduct the mobile pantry in the fall and spring," Redding said.

In fall 2019, the UNG community will see an expanded food pantry. The pantry will envelop another room in the Student Center this summer and increase its offerings.

"All of us who work there are excited about the new space," Redding said. "This will make a big difference to the people we serve."

The UNG Food Pantry is located in the Student Center directly behind the information desk and across from the Student Money Management Center. It is open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the summer semester. Food pantries also are located on the Cumming, Dahlonega and Oconee campuses.

For more information or to volunteer, email Redding at carly.redding@ung.edu.

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 front desk of the Student Resource Center

More information: Contact Nikki McNeill at Nikki.McNeill@ung.edu

Dahlonega

Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Tuesday during spring and fall semesters; 1-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the summer

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 during fall and spring semesters; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during summer semester

Location: In the Student Center next to the information desk

More information: Contact Dr. Carly Redding at carly.redding@ung.edu

Oconee

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesdays in the fall and spring; Noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays from June 3 to Aug. 2

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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