In the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic, many individuals and families have sought support from Utah State University’s Student Nutrition Access Center (SNAC) to meet their food needs. And as the pandemic continues in the coming weeks and months, a fundraising campaign supported by AggieFunded helps ensure that SNAC will be able to continue to help those in need.
USU’s SNAC Food Pantry is a service organization led by students under the supervision of Nelda Ault-Dyslin, Service Center coordinator for the Val R. Christensen Service Center.
The AggieFunded campaign for SNAC has raised over $17,000, with donations still sought.
“When University Advancement approached us with this idea last fall, our initial hopes for a first-time campaign were pretty humble,” said Ault-Dyslin. “We are so overwhelmed with the generosity of our community, particularly in this very stressful time.”
Research shows that one-third of USU students are unable to access sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food. The SNAC pantry provides resources to students and members of the campus community who either do not have enough money to buy food, are confined to a strict budget or are unable to afford healthy options.
“People tend not to understand the challenges of students who aren’t able to get the nutrition they need to do well in school,” explains Ault-Dyslin. “But sometimes a car repair or unexpected expense will mean that a student doesn’t eat. And you really can’t expect someone to do their very best working toward a college education on little more than Ramen noodles.”
SNAC partners with Campus Kitchen, the Food Recovery Network, USU’s Gleaning Team and the Utah Conservation Corps Urban Community Farm to provide packaged food and produce for students, faculty and spouses of students in need. The collaboration depends heavily on student volunteers to recover food from several locations on and off-campus, to sort donations and to operate the pantry. During the 2018-2019 school year, these volunteers recovered 38,000 pounds of food and provided meals for 1,600 students.
James Wirth, from AmeriCorps VISTA, who supports SNAC, said the funding comes at a good time for the community as many volunteer programs and fundraising events have been cancelled during social isolation.
SNAC is a program within USU’s Office of Community Engagement, a Student Affairs department formed in 2013 with a mission to develop active citizens through community engagement and scholarship. To donate to the SNAC AggieFunded campaign, visit https://www.usu.edu/aggiefunded/snac/index.