RHA food pantry receives $6,000 grant

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In the summer of 2019, Sarah Herring, Residence Life Coordinator, wrote and received a $6,000 grant for the food pantry and closet located at Place. Herring applied for the grant with the Embark Program at the JW Fanning Institute of Leadership Development at the University of Georgia.

The grant money, which trickles down from federal reserves, is aimed specifically at students experiencing homelessness and foster care.

Herring explained that the funds for this project started as federal money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences. From there, it goes to the state at the Division of Family and Children Services.

It eventually reaches its way to UGA and Herring said, “any school in the University System of Georgia could have applied for this money. I asked for $6,000 and was very fortunate to get the $6,000 I needed.”

The food pantry and closet was originally hosted by the Dean of Students; “Bernice Hughes and Vickie Wilson saw the need first and then Residence Hall got put in charge of it,” said Herring.

Dr. Maggie Martin, who has now left ABAC, informed Herring of the opportunity and urged her to take it on alone.

Herring credits her success to the ABAC community for helping her develop the grant into the best proposal it could be.

“In the planning process, I met with Dr. Maggie Martin, Amanda Walker and Shubba Chatterjee, who are all a part of student development, and brainstormed some needs that they have noticed through student development that might be important for this project,” Herring said. Dr. Chris Kinsey, Corey Langston and Trent Hester also assisted Herring.

Yet, many of the people involved say Herring did much of the work herself.

Chatterjee said, “She did everything by herself, Ms. Herring is the only person who deserves credit for the work done.” This also happened to be Herring’s first grant proposal.

“I didn’t know anything about grants and this one just kind of fell into my lap, I then sent it to Scott Pierce, who helped me go from there,” Herring remarked.

On Jan. 28, WRCM 4020, Klesman’s Proposal and Grant Writing class, took a tour with Herring to the community garden, the pantry and the closet.

A discussion was also held where she explained her process to students who are working to write grants firsthand.

Later that afternoon, Albany State University (ASU) was also given a similar tour in hopes of funding a pantry of their own.

Some of the money has already been put to use with part going to the Community Garden beside Lakeside and part going towards PantrySoft, a program used for food banks to keep stock of their supplies.

Herring added, “I found it through Kennesaw State University, because I heard they had a successful food pantry, and I was curious about record keeping since it could keep track much better than I can by hand.”

Corvius has also been working with Herring to put the rest of the funds to use.

Stocked shelves line the walls of the pantry. Photo by Ricky Rodriguez.

Herring still intends to “Include a space specifically for food, which will have a freezer and refrigerator.”

This project by itself will require construction in the dorms but only for a short time. Herring also wants to add “a space for clothing, and I also want to add a changing room, a place to try things on with mirrors.”

This takes away the risk of clothing not fitting since students don’t currently have a space to try things on.

The Student Government Association (SGA) has also reached out to Herring about including a section for gender-neutral clothing.

Herring enjoys the personal work and appreciates the hours she’s put into the pantry. It helps her strive towards her personal goals.

Herring said, “Just in this society nowadays, we need connection more than ever and this is a very unique way to connect with students. It’s a very intimate process to go to somebody and say ‘I need these things.’ To be able to hold this calm and caring space for these students who need these things… you can’t put a price on that.”

“One of my goals is to get people to where they need to be, and this is one way that I can do that,” Herring continued.

With growth coming to the pantry, Herring has decided to finally give this home a name and wants ABAC’s community to decide on that name.

The options are “The Stallion Care Closet,” “The Co-op,” “The Stable,” “The Silo“ and “The Stallion Harvest.”

Vickie Wilson will send an email to all students Wednesday with a link to a poll for voting. RHA will also host a voting table at the Valentine’s Carnival on Thursday.

If you are in need of food, clothing, some space to garden or looking to donate to the pantry, contact Sarah Herring at sherring1@abac.edu.

The QR Code here will take you to the poll

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