Recently, the Auburn Food Pantry has taken on new ways to supply food for those in need.
From April 5 until April 17, Auburn's Campus Food Pantry will be participating in the SEC Campus Food Pantry Fight. Other participating schools include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Sarah Grace Walters, coordinator at Auburn Cares and overseer of Auburn's Campus Food Pantry, said the Campus Food Pantry has recently been looking for ways to collaborate with other food pantries across the nation.
The pandemic hit food pantries hard, like most other businesses, and Auburn's Campus Food pantry has seen a decrease in donations over the past year. In collaborating with other food pantries, they began to think of new ways to bring in more food. Eventually, the SEC Campus Food Pantry Fight was born.
For every dollar donated, Auburn University is awarded three points towards the SEC Campus Food Pantry Fight. For every food item donated, Auburn University is awarded two points.
Each institution has its own food pantry and has set up its point system based on need. After Saturday, April 17, the points will be tallied across the country and the winner from the participating campuses will be announced.
“Some of the best things we can do is learning from each other,” Walters said.
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Prior to working at Auburn Cares, Walters was a counselor for women with eating disorders. She received her master's in mental health counseling and is currently working on her Ph.D. in higher education.
“Food issues … have always been a passion of mine," Walters said. "This is another unique way to help out and make sure we continue to serve our students."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers food insecurity as the uncertainty of having, or the inability to, acquire enough food to meet people's needs. This insecurity could be from the lack of financial resources or other means.
According to their Food Security Status of U.S. Households in 2019, Alabama's prevalence rate of food insecurity was 13.9%, which is above the national average.
Additionally, Walters said 30% of all college students are food insecure, and of those 56% are working. On Auburn's campus, there have been 1,926 visits to the Campus Food Pantry in the last three years alone.
“Our specific food pantry is available to all students — They do not have to prove need,” Walters said. “We offer non-perishable foods and hygiene items.”
Every academic year, over 100 individual students serve at Auburn's Campus Food Pantry. The Pantry additionally averages one food drive each month of the year.
If you would like to get supplies from their confidential location, call 334-844-1305 or send them an email. Donations to the SEC Campus Food Pantry Fight are accepted both online and in person. Imperishable goods are also accepted at the donation bin by the front desk in Foy Hall.
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