SAVANNAH — A local family that wishes to remain anonymous recently donated $100,000 to establish the Armstrong Emergency Food Resource Fund at Armstrong State University. The family, which includes a faculty member and two generations of university alumni, is committed to support efforts to thwart the national trend of food insecurity among college students.
According to a widely disseminated study led by University of Wisconsin at Madison professor Sara Goldrick-Rab, 1 in 5 students went hungry in the last month, and 1 in 10 students has been homeless.
“Many students are now nontraditional, supporting families and working full-time while attending college,” said Armstrong President Linda M. Bleicken. “Food insecurity cuts across all demographics. This generous donation to establish The Armstrong Emergency Food Resource Fund will help to support students’ nutritional and educational needs.”
Armstrong’s donors were inspired to make this gift after reading news stories about university students being distracted from their studies or dropping out of school because they could not afford to feed themselves or their families.
Armstrong’s Student Government Association and the Division of Student Affairs identified food insecurity as an important student issue several years ago. Members of both organizations wanted to establish a campus food bank, but lacked the resources to do so.
Through this gift, Student Affairs has received $15,000 to establish the food resource program and an additional $85,000 has been placed in an endowment to support the program. In addition, Student Affairs has begun a food drive to help stock the shelves and Sodexo, Armstrong’s catering service, has offered its support.
Armstrong is the fifth Georgia university to join the College and University Food Bank Alliance, a network of more than 240 higher education institutions across the country working to address food insecurity on their campuses.
According to the alliance, limited transportation options and reduced access to community-based food resources make it difficult for students to receive help. With an increasing number of students working to pay their own college expenses, the alliance advocates for campus-based food resources to help these students complete their education.
The donors hope that Armstrong alumni and community members will support the Armstrong Emergency Food Resource Program through donations and in-kind gifts. At the donors’ request, the program will also assist faculty and staff members who are struggling to make ends meet.
Donations are currently being accepted at the Office of Student Life, located in Memorial College Center Room 201 or can be coordinated by calling 912-344-2504.