The Greater Greensboro Society of Medicine Alliance has become aware of the fact that 1 in 3 students that are enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is food insecure, and that 1 in 5 students have skipped meals due to a lack of money. UNCG is consistent with the national average for food insecurity. Who would have known? It is heart breaking to know that these students are hungry, and not just for knowledge. We want to do something about it and aim to help through this GGSMA project.
Our mission is to conduct a food and non-perishables collection drive along with collecting monetary donations from the medical community to help support this cause. Our children cannot learn if they have not had food to eat and they cannot feel secure or learn if they are worried about their next meal or how to obtain the simple necessary toiletries that we all take for granted.
In the spring of 2019, 428 UNCG students visited the food pantry and received perishable and non-perishable food and toiletries items through the Food Pantry program that is overseen by the Wesley-Luther ministry. The “Spartan Open Pantry” is a full food pantry that offers non-perishable food, fresh fruits & vegetables, bread, toiletries, feminine hygiene products & toilet paper to students with a valid student ID. The pantry is located adjacent to the university in the fellowship hall of the College Place United Methodist Church and is open for distribution on Tuesday and Wednesday in the evenings from 5:00-9:00 p.m. weekly. A hot cooked meal is provided in the church’s kitchen every Wednesday evening from 6:00-7:00 p.m. There is also a food cabinet located on the UNCG campus in the student affairs office that is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. that is stocked with quick non-perishable foods for students that are in a bind.
What you might not know about higher education: Though students spend a lot of money to attend college, many college students lack enough money to eat regular meals and skip meals or don't eat a balanced diet because they can't afford to buy food. Food and housing insecurity are among the barriers nationally that college students are facing.
UNCG saw similar numbers in a 2017 survey. Nearly 20% of UNCG students said they frequently skip meals, and 35% said they had missed a meal in the last year because of a lack of money. UNCG has the highest rate of food insecurity of all the North Carolina State supported universities.