TIFTON — Sarah Herring, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s residence life coordinator for leadership development, recently received a $6,000 grant to expand the food pantry at ABAC. The grant is being used to help Herring double the space of the clothing closet and food pantry and to purchase items such as shelves, collection bins and storage items.
Herring said the food pantry and clothing closet were designed to provide food and professional clothing for students in need. With the expansion, Herring said she hopes to have storage space to bring more items such as towels, pillows, curtains, school supplies, toiletries and cookware to ABAC students. Many of these items are donated to other organizations, such as Goodwill, once students move out of their ABAC living spaces. Herring’s goal is for these items to be donated to the closet so they can be utilized by other students in need.
“The grant greatly impacts our community,” Herring said. “Just by receiving it, people are becoming more aware of the presence of students in need on our campus. It allows for resources that will be used to better serve our students. Students are more likely to be academically successful when they have all of their living necessities covered, and the Residence Hall Association advocates for the overall well-being of our student body.”
Herring said she will use a portion of the grant to increase by 400 square feet the size of the community garden that is also sponsored by the Residence Hall Association. She said she plans to purchase a refrigerator to preserve fresh produce and other food items. The refrigerator will be utilized alongside a recently donated freezer.
“I will also use the grant money to purchase a computer and a software database called ‘PantrySoft’,” Herring said.
“This software is created specifically for food pantries to maintain records of incoming donations and checkouts.”
ABAC students who have experienced foster care, financial hardship or homelessness are able to access the food pantry, clothing closet and community garden. The process is completely confidential, and Herring said she hopes that any students in need will use these valuable resources.
Herring said the grant was provided by a program called “Embark,” which is hosted by the JW Fanning Institute for Leadership Development. She said the grant came from a partnership with the Education and Training Voucher program that is administered by the JW Fanning Institute with funds that are provided by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services through Georgia RYSE/ILP.