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Georgia Gwinnett College students are getting a new place to visit when they need some food.

The college recently announced the opening of its Care Pantry, which will stock nonperishable food items and dairy products. The pantry is designed to serve GGC students who have a valid GGC Claw Card and offer them access to fresh vegetables, fruits, proteins and dairy products.

“The Care Pantry allows GGC to step in to assist members of our Grizzly family who are unable to obtain enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle,” said GGC President Jann L. Joseph, who spoke at the pantry’s ribbon cutting on July 22. “The percentage of students who face food insecurity is surprisingly staggering, and we are excited to contribute to the many initiatives around the country designed to alleviate hunger.”

The pantry is a partnership between the college and the Lawrenceville Co-Op Food Bank Ministry and they are working with community and campus partners to offer prepackaged food to students. School officials said 81% of GGC students qualify for some type of financial aid and 52% of them qualify for Pell grants.

GGC highlighted a survey of students that was conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in 2018. That survey showed 37% of students in Georgia said they had “low or very low” food security. A nationwide report released by the center in 2020 showed 39% of students who participated in a 2019 survey said the were “food insecure.”

GGC’s Institutional Research and Analysis office subsequently conducted a survey of its own in 2020, which showed 43.6% of students identified struggles to meet needs, 24.5% were worried about whether they had enough food to get by until they had the ability to buy more and 19% said they knew someone who did not have enough food to eat.

The food that is being stocked in the pantry is chosen based on dietary restrictions and balanced diet recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition to the food, students will receive educational materials that illustrate healthy eating choices and highlight nutritional information.

“Our food pantry contributes to the holistic success of students and is a welcomed relief for those who desperately need this service,” Joseph said.

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