By Rachel Vanderford
Special to Hottytoddy.com
Ole Miss Dining is partnering with The University of Mississippi Food Bank to provide meals to Ole Miss students facing food insecurity.
Food insecurity, as reported by the United States Department of Agriculture, is the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways. It is a significant problem on several college campuses, and Ole Miss is no exception.
According to research conducted in 2017, 40.8% of the UM community does not know that the UM Food Bank exists, 84.2% do not believe that they would qualify for its services, while only 2.5% support it.
“One of our biggest missions with our campaign was to change those numbers,” Food Service Director Jacob McDougal said. “We want to make people aware of the resources available to them while also helping contribute to those resources.”
What began as a volunteer project for Ole Miss Dining has turned into an ongoing effort to feed the students of Ole Miss. In September, employees began collecting “meal swipes” from students that would be donated to the Food Bank as part of Ole Miss Dining’s “Swipe Out Hunger” campaign. Students in need of meals could then go to the Food Bank and have the swipes loaded onto their Student ID. The bank is open to all university students.
During the week-long campaign, they collected over 200 meal swipes from students who wanted to donate to the cause. Ole Miss Dining then matched that donation and contributed over 400 meals to the UM Food Bank. Along with the meal swipes, they also collected seven large boxes of canned/dry goods and personal hygiene products.
“While making meal donations to the Ole Miss Food Bank is not something new to Ole Miss Dining, we wanted to change how these meals were allocated to students,” said Ole Miss Dining Marketing Manager Amy Greenwood. “Previously, we gave vouchers to the Rebel Market; and this year we wanted a more private way of distributing meals. Having a Swipe Donation Drive also helps create awareness around an issue, and gives students the chance to be proactive towards a problem such as food insecurity.”
To find out more about food insecurity and the UM Food Bank go online to foodbank.olemiss.edu.