Student Affairs collects food for campus pantry

Members of various departments of the Division of Student Affairs collect donations during the “Junk in the Trunk” food drive Thursday for the Feeding the Pride food pantry. They received 1,179 food items.

The Division of Student Affairs collected 1,179 food items in its “Junk in the Trunk” food drive today in the Guillot University Center parking lot.

The event, held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., let faculty, staff and students donate and place food items such as granola bars, applesauce and instant noodles in the open trunks of vehicles.

“Junk in the Trunk” gave the staff on campus a way to assist students in need, said Stephanie Vess, the temporary coordinator of special events for the Office of Student Engagement.

“We’re right next to the holidays, and I think it’s important for our students to be taken care of,” she said. “Some of our students have the opportunity to go home for Thanksgiving, but some do not. We want to make sure that all of them have enough food to sustain them through the holidays.”

Groups split into four teams to see which could collect the most items. Team 1, consisting of Career Planning and Development, University Events and University Health Services won first place with five handcarts of food.

“I don’t think you can ever be 100 percent satisfied with how much food you can collect for students who need the services the food pantry provides, but I’m happy with what we collected today,” said Laura Garrett, University Health Services nurse practitioner. “More would always be better, though.”

Almost all of the donations came from UNA staff members, Vess said.

Mental Health Counselor Jami Flippo started the event with University Residences in 2009 as “Too Much Junk in the Trunk.” Vess said Student Affairs took the program on this year to help create involvement.

“We wanted to include students, but with the time that we had, we decided to do it internally first,” she said. “Maybe we’ll expand it next year with students and staff combined to have an even larger drive.”

The drive was a great way for staff to work together to benefit students, said Kevin Jacques, director of University Residences.

“I think there was a pretty good turnout of representation of staff,” he said. “It’s pretty inspiring to see how much (food) is out here in such a short time.”