Nigel’s Nest food pantry opens on the Oconee campus

Nigel’s Nest, the food pantry at the University of North Georgia’s Oconee campus, opened March 6. The goal of Nigel’s Nest is to provide assistance to all members of the UNG community — students, faculty and staff alike. All that’s required is a valid UNG ID.

Nigel’s Nest is located in room 728 of Bishop Hall. The pantry is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, by request it can be opened at other times.

The Oconee campus food pantry, Nigel’s Nest. (Photo by Nathan Pugh)

Despite being called a food pantry, Nigel’s Nest offers more than just food. Items like deodorant, shampoo, razors and feminine hygiene products are available, as well as laundry detergent, dryer sheets and school supplies.

The pantry’s organizers intend to continue to expand the selection. “For students we have to consider a wider variety of circumstances,” said Barbara Arnold, associate director of student counseling.

As people leave the food pantry they can take an optional exit survey where they can indicate things that they would like to see the food pantry offer, and based on those responses the pantry will grow to fit the needs of the community. Additional products and services listed on the exit survey include winter clothing, child care, and housing assistance.

Everything stocked at Nigel’s Nest was donated by members of the community, including students, faculty and staff, and local businesses such as Oconee State Bank and Lydia’s Place. The food pantry will continue to rely on donations, but moving forward the plan is to also work with other local food pantries and grocery stores to help stock the shelves.

“We want to do this so that students can focus on what’s important, coming to class and learning, and you can’t do that if you’re hungry,” said Dr. Cyndee Moore, executive director at the Oconee campus.

UNG’s Gainesville and Dahlonega campuses each have a food pantry. “We use them as models and for support,” Moore said.

Arnold was the one to propose the idea of opening a food pantry at the Oconee campus. “This is a growing need at our campus and over the last two semesters it has seemed more pressing,” she said.

“It is very judgment-free and everyone seems very enthusiastic about helping the pantry,” Arnold said.

“Nobody’s going to ask why or how much you need,” Moore added.

The best way for students to get involved with the food pantry is to donate food, supplies or money. Students can also help organize the shelves and do inventory; help with marketing; and help raise awareness about the food pantry. Contact Dr. Gary Adcox, director of campus success and strategic initiatives, for more information.

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