The cost of tuition for an in-state student at the University of Georgia is $10,836. The expense of a typical residence hall at UGA for a nine-month academic year is about $5,290. The estimated cost of books, supplies and living expenses is $2,980. With the cost of all of those expenses, some students find it hard to have any money left over for something as essential as food. At the University of Georgia those students can use the Student Pantry as their source of meals.
The Student Pantry is a student-run organization over seen by the Pan-Hellenic Council, said Madi Raley, Pan-Hellenic Delegate for the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority at the University of Georgia. It is a non-profit organization that works to provide meals for students of the university who cannot afford them otherwise. Students can visit the pantry once a day and take any three items they may need. The food provided by the student pantry is all donated by other students, or anyone who chooses to donate, says Raley of the student pantry.
The student pantry is students helping students. This organization is completely run by students at UGA who volunteer their time in order to help other students who need it.
Ashley Merkel, committee head of the student pantry at UGA, started by serving as a member of the student pantry committee. After working so closely with the previous committee head she decided to apply for the position, and started as committee head this year. Someone can volunteer by emailing the Student Pantry or by signing up on a weekly google document the goes out, said Merkel.
Because it is run the Pan-Hellenic council, all of the sororities on campus are very involved in the student pantry. “Every week, 3-4 sororities have the responsibility of donating around $200 worth of canned goods, pastas, breakfast items, drink items, etc.” said Raley. “We are usually completely stocked,”. By reaching out to the 17 different sororities on campus, the student pantry receives a lot of donations and volunteers.
“We traffic around 100 people a day, so the more food we have, the better off we are,” said Merkel. “People come in on a regular basis saying how appreciative they are for the pantry and how helpful it is to have such a great thing on campus.”
“I have donated to the student pantry, because I heard about why it is such a good organization from Madi,” said Nicole Jensen a senior member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. “ I felt like it was a good cause, and I wanted to help those students who are in need of the student pantry.”
“It is such a little piece of UGA, but it truly does mean a lot and it is rewarding getting to see how helpful it is for some students and how grateful they are for it,” says Merkel.
For more information on how to help the Student Pantry visit the UGA Student Food Pantry Facebook page or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their phone number is also provided on the Facebook page.