Social Work Council seeks donation for food pantry

Zach Lyons

With their supplies running low, the Social Work Council has been asking the community for donations to replenish the group’s pantry, which provides food for students in need.

The council successfully raised $1,000 as part of UT’s 40 Hours for the 40 Acres fundraising event over the past week, which is enough to supply the pantry for the fall semester. As the school year comes to a close, the council hopes they can raise enough by other means to cover next spring as well.

Addis Gezahegn, sociology and social work junior and president of the Social Work Council for the upcoming year, said in an email that the pantry is open to the entire student body. It began as a means to provide nonperishable food items for low-income students, addressing a need that is prevalent in the social work community.

“A large majority of our students are low-income, first generation, and/or nontraditional,” Gezahegn said.

Gezahegn said the group seeks to expand the pantry, providing fresh fruits and other healthy foods, which can be expensive. Rising costs led them to seek outside help.

“As the Social Work Council’s budget is limited, we are reaching out to all of UT to help us keep our students fed,” Gezahegn said. “The School of Social Work is home to extraordinary and world-changing students, some of which who do not have access or the ability to afford food on campus.”

Advertising senior Addie Williams said she appreciates the council’s mission and that the extra food supply for those who need it is especially valuable as final exams approach. 

“It’s really important during those times, [when] you already have so many other things going on in your life, just to make sure that you’re eating and you’re getting the nutrients you need or else your health will deteriorate,” Williams said.

Williams said she thinks the fundraising could be promoted more widely through social media.

“People are constantly sharing Facebook events, so if they did that, that would probably get the word out,” Williams said.

Advertising senior Katherine Kish said faculty could also aid the council’s efforts.

“They could also have some teachers do a food drive, asking students to bring food donations to class,” Kish said.

Kish said regardless of people’s awareness, she’s glad the council is working to provide the pantry.

“I think it’s really great there are opportunities for students to give back to other students,” Kish said.