The University of North Georgia’s new Blue Ridge campus has implemented two initiatives designed to keep its hungry students’ focus on their academics, and Feed Fannin is partnering in both efforts.
Last fall, while the pandemic limited UNG students to online learning and food insecurity became more noticeable to administrators, the non-residential school set up an on-campus food pantry to help those who are struggling to afford groceries, toiletries and certain school supplies.
Feed Fannin member Anna Speesen is coordinator of Academic Success Services at UNG Blue Ridge, and she oversees the pantry. Feed Fannin, with its ability to stretch dollars by purchasing food in bulk through local food banks, began contributing regularly to the school’s food pantry. Students who fill out a confidential form to participate can come to the campus twice a week to pick up the nonperishable food and other basic items they need.
“When hunger is a distraction, students have a harder time in the classroom,“ Speesen said. “This pantry has the potential to help combat food insecurity.”
Early this year, Speesen saw another opportunity to help students on the Blue Ridge campus, which offers no dining services. With the help of Feed Fannin volunteers and a few UNG alumni, she established an amenity known as “Lunch in a Crunch” to give students self-service options for meals and snacks (soups, tuna, noodle cups, crackers, etc.) throughout the day between classes so they can remain on campus and focus on their studies.