Written by Lauren Linkowski, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta.
As senior Jacquelyn Harms so perfectly put it, “If you have food, you have a million problems. If you don’t have food you only have one problem.”
Ever since I heard her say this as we were filming our philanthropy video in the spring, I can’t help but think about it. As students at UGA we walk past hunger everyday. Sure, the obvious cases like passing the somewhat familiar faces on benches downtown. There are also, however, the not-so-obvious people sitting next to you in class or on the bus.
As a Panhellenic community we have made serious strides in aiding the hidden hunger on our campus. The Student Pantry in Tate, stocked and staffed by women from all 18 sororities, allows any student that attends UGA to take donated food without questions. We all are helping to alleviate the “one problem” so that our fellow students can focus on school rather than where their next meal is going to come from.
Athens-Clarke County suffers from food insecurity, which is not having constant access to safe, nutritious food. Currently, 100% of school-aged children in the county are on free or reduced lunch and many schools include breakfast in the meal plan, too. Not only are school-aged children at risk, but the elderly and homebound also suffer from food insecurity based on income and physical inability to grocery shop.
Alpha Gamma Delta has recently made it our mission to further help this growing problem in our community.
From small projects like packaging leftover food from sisterhood events and delivering it to homeless people downtown, to larger ones like introducing a food recovery program at Sanford Stadium; we are not afraid to look this problem in the face.
5th Quarter, the food recovery program at Sanford, was originally introduced at the University of Alabama by the Alpha Gam chapter. After home football games, all of the food from the suite level is packaged by a team of volunteers and donated to their local food bank. We are eager to start 5th Quarter here for the remaining home games of the season and will be partnering with Campus Kitchen in order to assure quality, nutrient dense food is being donated to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia.
Campus Kitchen has been focusing on food insecurity in Athens for many years and we are honored that they have accepted our offer to help alongside them and learn how to best serve this area of Athens.
As for me, I am constantly reminded of the genuine sisterhood I am blessed to be a part of through my sisters’ nameless acts of kindness. While we are all from different areas of the country, no one is a stranger to serving the community where they are placed. In everything they do, whether it is our shared philanthropy or an individual passion, I see my best friends separate from personal gain to benefit a problem much greater than them.