Students, faculty and staff at Pellissippi State Community College led Tennessee’s community and technical colleges in a six-week challenge to collect food items for those in need.
Tennessee’s public community and technical colleges annually participate in the challenge throughout the months of November and December to collect food and cash donations to benefit local organizations, programs and food banks serving their communities.
This year, Pellissippi State gathered 43,058 items of 128,039 food items collected statewide. Cash donations are counted as two items per dollar raised. This is the fifth consecutive win for Pellissippi State.
“Every year, the generosity of the campus communities exceeds expectations,” said Heidi Leming, Tennessee Board of Regents vice chancellor for student success. “The food drive is just one of the many ways our campus communities are supporting efforts to address student food insecurity. It is also a reminder of the importance of supporting students outside the classroom to help ensure their success.”
The Food Drive Challenge was conceived in 1999 by the Student Government Presidents Council – student leaders from across the state – as a project to help fellow students and others in their communities. Throughout the 25 years of the Food Drive Challenge, Tennessee colleges have collected more than 1.7 million food items.
Fifteen Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) and 10 community colleges submitted their collection and donation information for the 2023 competition.
A new report by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission concludes that students experiencing food insecurity are less likely to excel academically and more likely to report stress levels that hinder their studies. All 13 of Tennessee’s community colleges have food pantries and some have food gardens, while nine TCATs have their own on-campus pantries, 13 provide emergency grants, and one has a community garden. Any college in the system will connect students to local services when students indicate need. Anyone wishing to contribute to food pantries at Tennessee’s community and technical colleges may do so at any time via this link. To support the Pellissippi Pantry specifically, you may give here or learn how to donate items here.
Lesli Bales-Sherrod, public relations specialist, Pellissippi State Community College