Nourishing Minds and Bodies on Our College Campuses
Food Lion Feeds Collegiate Hunger Challenge Provides $10,000 to Two NC College Hunger-Relief Programs
Ashante Spruill is like most college seniors. The kinesiology major at Elizabeth City State University is focused on her classes and contemplating her future. But one thing that may be different about Ashante is that last semester she spent almost every waking hour outside of class – including evenings and weekends -- focused on helping her fellow students and her surrounding community in the fight to end hunger.
Ashante’s drive to address hunger, as the MVP Student Hunger Ambassador, led to ECSU being named one of two winners of the Food Lion Feeds’ Collegiate Hunger Challenge – a pilot project launched in partnership with North Carolina Campus Compact, which pitted 17 diverse colleges and universities across the state against each other in a challenge to win $10,000 to support their campus community hunger relief programs.
This week Meg Ham, president of Food Lion, presented checks to the two winning schools – North Carolina Central University and Elizabeth City State University – during North Carolina Campus Compact’s Presidents Forum – attended by chancellors from 38 of the participating at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
“Imagine how difficult it is to learn when you are hungry. That is a situation faced by many college students at campuses every day,” Meg said. “That’s one of the reasons Food Lion was so excited about this partnership – tapping into the passion of students to help fellow students and the communities surrounding their campuses to fight hunger. And, I can’t tell you how impressed I was by the work of students on these 17 campuses, driving awareness of the issue of hunger, gathering more than 107,000 pounds of food at food drives and helping Food Lion Feeds to end hunger in our communities.”
Dr. Jennifer Brown, assistant professor of kinesiology and the faculty advisor for the Collegiate Hunger Challenge project at ECSU shared that during one distribution event at the campus food pantry last month, meals were provided for 160 students – more than 10 percent of the student body enrolled on campus this semester. “This competition and the support by Food Lion provided a tremendous jump start to our effort to end hunger,” Brown said. “And I just can’t thank Food Lion enough.”
Similarly, Dr. Colleen Herbert, with North Carolina Central University said, “there’s a growing divide between haves and have nots in our community, and we are seeing more people in need across our community. These funds from Food Lion will make a huge difference in helping us to meet that need.”
Participating schools earned points in the competition through a variety of activities including kickoff events, partnership with their local Food Lion stores, Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week activities, Souper Bowl Food drives, social media engagement and more. The two top points-scorers won the competition.
The winning schools have bold plans for using their winnings to continue fighting hunger in their communities. NC Central is splitting the funds between their campus pantry and a local elementary school at Eagle Village where they’ll help to bridge the gap where their Backpack Buddies program ends. And ECSU is installing commercial refrigeration and freezers in their campus pantry so they can distribute more fresh produce and frozen foods to their students, enabling them to not only nourish their minds and bodies – but to do it with healthy, fresh, nutritious foods.