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Since opening in October 2011, the SNAC Food Pantry has been a tremendous help to college students who have struggled financially, and all too often did not have access to adequate food and other basic necessities. Open to USC Upstate students who do not have current meal plans, the Food Pantry provides emergency food, nutritional information, and other basic necessities, as well as paper goods, and household supplies. Non-food items (toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc.) are available to all USC Upstate students, even if they have meal plans.

“SNAC provides students with food and other basic necessities that helps reduce stress, allowing them to be more engaged as academic learners,” said Kara Ferguson, assistant director of campus programs for student life at USC Upstate.  “The initiative has also been extremely successful in educating the campus population on poverty and hunger issues.”

According to Ferguson, anyone can make referrals to SNAC, which is located in the Office of Student Life in the Sansbury Campus Life Center and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, with some evening hours.

The Food Pantry is stocked with gifts-in-kind and donations of canned food, dry goods, cooking supplies, and household and hygiene supplies. USC Upstate faculty and staff and several student organizations have assisted with the project.

“We would not be able to operate the Food Pantry without these donations, so we ask that students take only what they need,” said Ferguson. “By taking only what they need, it ensures there are items left for the students who come after them.”

Monetary donations for both the non-perishable and freezer items are greatly welcomed and are tax-deductible. Checks may be made out to USC Upstate Foundation and either mailed through campus mail to Kara Ferguson in the Office of Student Life or brought to the Student Life office located in the Campus Life Center. Donations may be dropped off in the Office of Student Life between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Fridays.

Ferguson encourages students who need assistance beyond the Food Pantry to visit the R U OK? web site at www.uscupstate.edu/spartanscare.  The R U OK? is a campus-wide initiative that encourages USC Upstate students to support, respect and take responsibility for one another.  The initiative strives to foster a community where students reach out to students in need and assist in referring them to appropriate resources on campus. The purpose of R U OK? is to share a listing of campus and community resources that supports students in academic and personal matters; promote participation of students in the lives of their friends who may not know how or feel comfortable seeking assistance from university resources; assist in connecting students with campus resources; reach out to students who are either self-identified or identified by others, to provide appropriate referrals; teach faculty, staff and students about the resources available for our Upstate community; avoid isolation of students who need assistance; nurture a community that values and cares about each other; and send a positive message to students about our care and concern for them and their success.

For more information, contact Kara Ferguson, assistant director of campus programs for student life at USC Upstate, at (864) 503-5122 or kferguson@uscupstate.edu.

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