As of 2021, there were at least 352 campus food pantries serving thousands of undergraduate and graduate students across the United States.* With 41% of US college students reporting that they have experienced food insecurity, Mimi’s Pantry has proudly served the Atlanta University Center students since 2015.
Overview of Concept
The concept of a food pantry on the AUC’s campus was created by a Change Agent, Malika Flowers, during the Lowery Institute’s inaugural “Change Agent Tank”. In response to her own experiences and those witnessed among many AUC students, Ms. Flowers shared the difficult choices many students make between textbooks, personal hygiene products and food. Flowers envisioned the creation of a food pantry on the AUC campus.
Mimi’s Pantry represents the combination of Ms. Flower’s vision, Evelyn Lowery’s lifelong work, and the support and research of the Lowery Institute.
At Mimi’s Pantry, full time students in the Atlanta University Center without a full meal plan receive nonperishable, fresh and frozen food items as often as they need food. The two ways AUC students can utilize Mimi’s Pantry is by pre-registering for our weekly prepacked dinner bags or “shopping” in our main pantry. The dinner bags include all the ingredients students would need to cook meals such as beef or turkey tacos, chicken alfredo, and impossible burgers. When students utilize our “shopping-like” experience, they have access to a large array of dry, fresh, frozen, and vegan items of their choosing in the pantry. This dual access process assure that our pantry is aligned with our corporate sponsor’s mission of zero food waste.
Quotes From The Students That We Serve
"This is amazing! thank y'all so much for the food"
"Y'all don't understand how much this just helped me."
"I love coming here, they make sure we don't go hungry."
"I love the pantry so much I would like to see how I can give back by helping y'all."
"I just ran out of money and needed food and just when I was going to worry, someone came by me with a blue bag full of groceries and I had a feeling to ask them where they got the food from, and they shared that they got the groceries from Mimi's Pantry. Immediately came to the pantry and got more than enough groceries, thank You Mimi's Pantry for helping a college student out."
“We can get all of this for free?”
“You all are a real gift from God.”
“I haven’t eaten in two days, so I’m glad you told me about the pantry”
“I will be cooking this for dinner tonight!”
“Wow, you all have a nice selection of groceries”
“I feel like I’m in Kroger!”
" I wish I would have found out about Mimi's Pantry sooner."
"Wow we get all of this for free"
"Yo! Mimi's Pantry saved my life."
“Serving at Mimi’s Pantry has changed my definition of what I believed it meant to serve your community… As a change agent, I am incredibly proud of the work I have done with Mimi’s Pantry and know that little by little, we greatly impacted not just Spelman but the Atlanta University Center. As a pantry coordinator, I have had the beautiful opportunity of connecting with students from other schools and forming genuine friendships with my co-workers extending beyond Mimi’s Pantry. Mimi’s Pantry has positively impacted my life, and I will always be grateful for its impact on the AUC community and me. ”
“By utilizing Mimi’s Pantry, they are able to get food in their bellies without spending a penny. As college students, money is scarce so the work we’re doing is extremely important and does not go unnoticed by students. Nothing fulfills me more than seeing the looks on the students faces when they enter the pantry and see what they can get for absolutely zero dollars”
“Mimi’s Pantry has impacted my life by showing me what true community service looks like in action…Mimi’s Pantry has shown me how an organized group of strong-minded individuals can support a community of people in need of an essential resource. It is good to see the spirits of people lifted once they receive their weekly food bags. It’s one of the best feelings.”
Our Food Insecurity Capstone team (year two) is continuing efforts to craft and develop policy options on a macro level that address this issue to develop immediate and long-term solutions. “Food insecurity is a social justice issue, and we will continue to work on all fronts to meet the needs of students” .