Georgia Gwinnett College opens campus Care Pantry
It’s hard for college students to meet the challenges of an academic environment. It’s even harder when they’re hungry and their access to food is limited.
Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC), where 81% of students qualify for financial aid and 52% qualify for Pell grants, is doing its part to ensure its students never have to choose between a meal and a utility bill, with the opening of its Care Pantry.
Located on the second floor of Building I, the pantry stocks nonperishable food items and is open to students with a valid GGC Claw Card. Also, through the Student Emergency Fund, GGC can purchase special needs and perishable items like fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins and dairy.
“The Care Pantry allows GGC to step in to assist members of our Grizzly family who are unable to obtain enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle,” said GGC President Jann L. Joseph, who spoke at the pantry’s ribbon cutting on July 22. “The percentage of students who face food insecurity is surprisingly staggering, and we are excited to contribute to the many initiatives around the country designed to alleviate hunger.”
GGC is partnering with the Lawrenceville Co-Op Food Bank Ministry to help stock the space and will work with the Co-Op and other community and campus partners to provide prepackaged food to students, while keeping in mind dietary restrictions and United States Department of Agriculture recommendations to support a healthy, balanced diet. Students also will receive educational materials on nutrition and healthy eating choices.
Food insecurity statistics among college students are sobering. A 2020 Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice report revealed that 39 percent of the 167,000 students surveyed across the nation in 2019 reported they were “food insecure.”
The numbers across Georgia are consistent with national trends. A 2018 Hope Center survey, distributed to students in Georgia found that 37 percent of students reported “low or very low” food security.
At GGC, a fall 2020 student survey conducted by GGC’s Institutional Research and Analysis office indicated that 19 percent of students reported knowing someone who did not have enough to eat, 43.6 percent of students identified struggling to meet a need and 24.5 percent of students were worried whether their food would run out before they could get more.
“Our food pantry contributes to the holistic success of students and is a welcomed relief for those who desperately need this service,” said Joseph.