Niner Nation answers the call

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Jamil Niner Student Pantry is fully stocked for the first time, thanks to the generosity displayed by Niner Nation during this year’s #GivingTuesday campaign. More than $56,000 in monetary gifts and food donations was raised, ensuring that 49er students have the resources they need this holiday season and beyond. 

"We’re thankful for everyone who participated in #GivingTuesday events to raise food and funds for the Jamil Niner Student Pantry," said Mindy Sides-Walsh, director of leadership & community engagement. "Many campus food pantries have either closed or been forced to limit their support over the past nine months. Due to the generosity of so many, we'll be able to fulfill the food needs of our students over the next year."full bags at the UNC Charlotte Jamil Niner Student Pantry

One in three college students experience food insecurity. The Jamil Niner Pantry has remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic and is serving more students than ever before. Client numbers have doubled since March and the pantry is receiving more food requests from nontraditional students with families, who are using the pantry for the first time.

Virtual Food Drive

In addition to monetary gifts, this year’s campaign featured a virtual food drive. Alumni, faculty, staff and friends were encouraged to shop for items on the pantry’s Amazon wish list, including peanut butter, oatmeal, lentils, canned fruit and beans. More than 14,000 items were purchased from the list, with a total value of $19,629.

"Thank you to all the alumni, faculty and staff for not only spreading the word for the virtual food drive but for also donating," said Nick Sulak ‘17. "Your donations are going to make an enormous difference and because of you, the pantry is stocked up and ready for students for the coming months."

Axed Recipe Challenge

Members of Niner Nation also created unique recipes, using at least two of the most-needed items from the Jamil Niner Student Pantry, which included canned chicken, canned fruit, healthy cereal, salad dressing, jelly and pasta sauce. The Axed Recipe Challenge participants were Andrew Baker ’15, Kristin Coffey ’20 and Rachael Forester, Rodney Graves ’97, Tahlieah Sampson ’22 and CJ ’13 & Samantha ’11 White.

Alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of UNC Charlotte were encouraged to vote for a fan favorite 49er dish by making a donation to the #GivingTuesday campaign. Rodney Graves ’97 received the most votes for his Niner Nuggets and Miss Bonnie’s Blackberry FroYo. 

"#GivingTuesday was another great example of the phenomenal things that Niner Nation can accomplish when we work as one," said Rodney Graves ’96.

Chadwick Boyd ’93, food and lifestyle expert and judge on Hallmark channel helped choose an overall best recipe for the challenge. "There was lots of creativity, great combinations of flavor and lots of enthusiasm," said Boyd, in reference to the recipe submissions. The overall best recipe was awarded to Tahlieah Sampson ’22, this year’s student body president for her Niner Noodles dish.

"I have always been raised to give back," said Tahlieah Sampson. "Life is not easy, especially right now. As Student Body President, I wanted to use my platform to amplify the pantry and explain how important it is to give back."


More Ways to Support the Jamil Niner Student Pantry

  • Gifts can be made to the pantry throughout the year by visiting
  • Donate needed non-perishable food items. Visit the pantry’s website for a list of needed food items and hours of operation.

About #GivingTuesday

#GivingTueday, celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a global movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. Created in 2012 as a day that encouraged people to do good, #GivingTuesday inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity.