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UA's Campus Food Pantry is Finalist in White House Challenge

Feeds hundreds of students and staff members in its first year.
The Full Circle Campus Food Pantry at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville is a finalist for the White House's "Campus Champions of Change Challenge."

The pantry's service is prominently featured in a front-page article in USA Today that spotlights the way universities and colleges are dealing with food insecurity issues on their own campuses.

The article appeared online Saturday (February 25) after Full Circle was named as a finalist. The White House-sponsored award recognizes innovative approaches to solve community problems.

The USA Today story highlights the Full Circle Campus Food Pantry along with pantries at half a dozen other schools that all "offer food and supplies, from cereal to meats to produce to toiletries, as well as a feeling of camaraderie and dignity."

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to VOTE for the Full Circle Food Pantry on the Campus Challenge website.

"We have the most amazing volunteers on this campus who run the food pantry," said Angela Oxford, director of the center for community engagement. She and Julia Lyon, a student volunteer and chairwoman of Full Circle, are both quoted in the article.

The idea for the pantry originated with the university's Volunteer Action Center, a student group that coordinates volunteer opportunities for campus students, faculty and staff. Through their efforts the Full Circle Campus Food Pantry opened on February 7, 2011, in the kitchen area of Bud Walton Hall.

In its first year the food pantry has filled more than 500 student requests and 300 staff requests for themselves and their families, providing emergency food assistance to more than 2,500 people.

Last Friday the White House announced that Full Circle was a finalist in its "Campus Champions of Change Challenge." The food pantry is one of 15 services selected from more than 1,400 nominations.

People across the country are voting online this week to decide the five winners. The voting deadline is 10:59PM (Central Time) Saturday, March 3.

Representatives from the top five services will be invited to an event at the White House, will be featured by mtvU and MTV Act, and one group will host an episode of mtvU's signature program, "The Dean's List."

In addition to voting, you can show your support in other ways:

If you have a Twitter account, send a tweet with the name of the entry, "Full Circle Food Pantry," to @jonCarson44, director of public engagement for the White House.

For people who are on Facebook, you can join the Full Circle Food Pantry event and invite friends to join.

"The response so far has been amazing," said Oxford. "We have been in third place consistently since the voting started, but of course we hope to be number one by Saturday. We are counting on the university community and all our friends to continue showing their strong support for this excellent program."

The Full Circle Campus Food Pantry is a student-run program that was established by the Volunteer Action Center as an emergency assistance program that distributes food and toiletries to any member of the University of Arkansas community. It is open two days a week and its mission is to nourish bodies, empower minds and build a community of compassion.

The Volunteer Action Center board is a student-run initiative that was created in 2005 in order to organize student volunteer efforts and programs on campus and be the contact point for nonprofit organizations within Northwest Arkansas.
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