Student pantry fills need

Categories: General News Tags: Newsletter

Food insecurity affects students on U.S. college campuses at a rate that is often higher than twice that of the general population.

And UNC Charlotte is no exception; in fact, during the 2018-19 academic year, the Jamil Niner Student Pantry, located near main campus at 1224 John Kirk Drive, had 2,680 visits.

In operation since 2014, the student pantry is a campuswide, student-led organization with faculty and staff volunteers from both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.

Food on shelves at Jamil Niner Student PantryPantry interns and volunteers do their part in ensuring that no member of Niner Nation goes hungry and that every student has access to nutritious food.

“People often find it surprising that college students can’t afford food,” said Mindy Sides-Walsh, director of leadership and community engagement. “One in three college students experience food insecurity. Through efforts such as Swipe Out Hunger, the Jamil Niner Food Pantry and Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, we attempt to both educate others about and address this need.”

Named for benefactor and former UNC Charlotte trustee Dhiaa Jamil ’78, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Duke Energy, the Jamil Niner Student Pantry provides healthy, culturally appropriate foods to 49er students in need.

Jamil experienced food insecurity when he was a UNC Charlotte student.

Thanks to a grant from Food Lion and donations from Harris Teeter, Chartwells and members of the UNC Charlotte community, some 2,126 pounds of food was donated to the pantry last year.

In addition, the pantry purchased plants from a local gardening shop and grew tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, strawberries, collard greens, basil, and eggplant. Over 250 pounds of fresh produce was distributed to student clients.

This year, as part of #GivingTuesday, the global day dedicated to giving and celebrating generosity, Niner Nation will have the opportunity to support the Jamil Niner Student Pantry.

“For UNC Charlotte, #GivingTuesday is a way to bring our community together to transform how we think about, talk about and participate in the giving season,” said Emily Porter, assistant director of annual giving.

“We will celebrate giving by supporting the Jamil Niner Student Pantry to ensure that 49er students have the resources they need this holiday season.”