food for fines

SGA's first Food for Fines event raised 13,583 pounds of food, as UGA students and faculty donated food in exchange for waiving or refund a parking ticket, $50 or less.

On April 18, the University of Georgia’s Student Government Association partnered with UGA’s Transportation and Parking Services and the Northeast Georgia Food Bank to offer students an affordable option to pay for their parking tickets while giving back to the local community.

“It was relieving to know I didn’t have to pay for a $50 parking ticket and instead could make better use of my money,” Kelly Vanegas, sophomore journalism major said.

UGA students, as well as faculty and staff members, were given the opportunity to donate 10 canned good items in exchange for a waiver or refund toward their most recent parking citation valued $50 or less.

The event, Food for Fines, lasted between 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and donations were accepted at the Tate Surface Lot. A total of 1,202 individuals brought in canned donations, said Allison Brannen, Auxiliary Services marketing and communications manager.

“The turnout of people made it really successful,” Charley Claudio, SGA senator said. “Some students said their local Kroger supermarkets were completely sold out of canned goods.”

The event focused on helping both the local community and fellow Bulldogs exceeded the expectations of its organizers.

“The total weight of the donations amounted to 13,583 pounds, which provided approximately 11,320 meals,” Brannen said.

During the months following Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, which has a location in Athens, experiences a shortage in donations from the community, therefore, the timing of UGA’s event was ideal, David Williams, food procurement manager of Food Bank of Northeast Georgia said.

“In one day, UGA students and staff members provided over 11,000 meals for those in need in the community,” Williams said. “The event was a very fruitful partnership with SGA and the transportation and parking services.”

In light of the successful results and response from UGA students, Claudio plans on reprising the event next year.

“Some students are saying this is the best thing SGA’s done,” Claudio said. “We want to continue to give back to students and our local Athens community.”

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