Thunder Coalition helping food accessibility at GC

Cara Radosevich, Staff Writer

According to a study done in 2018 by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, 37 percent of college students in GA deal with food insecurity, identified in research by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University.

A third of college students in GA struggle to afford food due to other significantly large expenses, such as rent and bills. The study reported students having to eat smaller meal portions to make ends meet or simply not eating the meal.

In surveys conducted by the University of PA, they found that “more than half of Georgia students faced food or housing insecurity in the past year.”

Lori Hamilton, chief sustainability officer at GC, said that the Thunder Coalition united Campus Kitchen and Swipe Out Hunger so that the organizations could share their resources and improve the lives of students.

“Campuses are not immune to food insecurity and having organizations like these provide additional resources to students is very important,” Hamilton said.

Jenesis Harris, student representative of the Thunder Coalition and a junior mass communications major, shared that the organization is relatively new. Harris said that when the two organizations began to collaborate in the fall of last year when the coalition became official.

Non-perishable items donated to Thunder Coalition (Anjali Shenoy | Digital Media Editor)

“It’s important for college campuses to have access to these types of resources because colleges make up a variety of students coming from all walks of life,” said Harris. “It’s crucial that no student feels ill-equipped or unprepared to succeed in college because they lack the funds to pay for necessities like food and toiletries.”

Hamilton shared that Campus Corner has necessities such as clothing, personal hygiene, cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods and other items that students donate. It operates on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis.

According to Harris, students most often use toiletries and non-perishable food items compared to the other goods that they offer to students.

“Those items are usually the fastest to go in our campus closet so we always try to keep the closet stocked and replenishable with those types of items,” Harris said.

Hamilton said Campus Corner is sustained by a grant from Swipe Out Hunger, which is in Sanford Hall beside the mail room. Swipe Out Hunger will be stationed there through 2022 but will eventually be relocated by the Office of Sustainability, coordinating this move with Campus Life and Facilities Planning.

Harris shared that the Thunder Coalition’s headquarters will be moved towards the end of this semester. The new area will serve as a location for students to leave donations, take supplies and provide room for volunteers, who will be welcomed soon into the organization.

Harris emphasized the importance of volunteers in the growth of the Thunder Coalition, including Cameron Skinner, the organizer of Campus Kitchen, and Kendyl Lewis, organizer of Swipe Out Hunger, two GC graduates who have worked tirelessly to support their respective organizations.

Hamilton included that the support that the Thunder Coalition provides will help students to focus more on earning their degree than being concerned about where their next meal will come from. 

The Office of Sustainability receives student donations on behalf of Campus Corner every year and the department can be contacted at [email protected] to make non-monetary donations.