What Our Students Are Saying
“This semester in particular, I had to give up the meal plan because I simply couldn’t afford it, even with my financial aid. Most of my funds went to bills, leaving me very little money to pay for groceries. Yes, I do work; however, my hours are minimal and my pay is subpar. I would love nothing more than to be afforded the opportunity to have my financial worries, in regards to meals, be lifted from my shoulders.”
“Usually, I am only able to eat one full meal per day as a result of trying to make food that I purchase stretch over the next couple of days. I have recently noticed that I have been in an extreme state of fatigue.”
“This year my financial aid has been cut to where I can just cover tuition and housing. I am struggling to eat and buy school supplies. Without access to proper nutrition and due to the additional stress, my health has suffered – but I am determined to get myself through school and I only have two semesters left.”
“Some may take the luxury of a meal for granted. I, on the other hand, know what it is like to go hungry. In the hustle of college life, time is your worst enemy. I’m still trying to balance college life, often without food.”
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Hard work, dedication, and a love of learning: each quality represents a factor that got me accepted into the beautiful institution of UGA, and what will hopefully keep me enrolled. Not once did I ever question attending the college of my dreams, and I knew I would do anything to get there. Sadly, immediately following my acceptance, my world fell apart around me. My father decided to leave my family forever. Although the emotional side effects were jarring, the monetary blow was even worse. My father had the only job in the family, so when he left it was just my mother and myself: jobless.
My mother is the strongest woman I know, and she promised me she would do anything it takes to keep me enrolled at UGA. She received a low-paying job and worked every single day to make sure her baby girl was successful. However, once sophomore year hit, things started looking down. I couldn’t afford to live on campus, or eat the meal plan, so I had to fend for myself as much as possible. Mom would help out when she could, but she soon fell very ill. She had to take a leave of absence from work, so our only income was from the three jobs I had at the time. Because I was helping her with all of her medical bills, food was not a priority for me. I would find myself skipping many meals, or eating cans of corn on multiple occasions.
Who knew food had such a strong effect on scholarly success? My whole life I have received nothing less than a 4.0, but once I started missing meals everything changed. It became nearly impossible to focus in classes, or keep my eyes open for that matter. My mood went from excited to learn to wishing I could leave. I never once have received a B on a test, and that semester I failed a couple. Due to my overall lack of stamina and nutrition, my G.P.A went from a pretty 4.0 to a 3.7. I have never been so disappointed in myself in my life.
Soon after the semester ended, more tragedy struck and I lost my grandparents and my emotional service animal that I have had since second grade. At this point in my life I was the lowest I have ever been. I thought there was nothing out there watching over me. I thought there was nothing left. However, when I got the email about receiving the scholarship it was like a new wave of hope washed over me. My mother and I sat together and cried out of happiness for such a strong blessing. Although it may seem overly dramatic, I believe our excitement was warranted. Oftentimes people overlook how important food is to a person, and how free food for a semester can change a student’s life.
Throughout this semester I was so excited to venture out to every dining hall and try everything there was to offer. The food was exquisite! I would oftentimes take a picture of the amazing food and send it to my mother out of excitement. My personal favorite dish was the chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl served at The Village Summit. Oftentimes my fellow colleagues would laugh at me, for I was always so excited to go eat at the dining halls. I would also often hear students complain about the food, but I never once thought the food was bad; it was all wonderful compared to what I was living on. Because of all the food available, I was able to gain weight and finally come back to “normal size.” My immune system has also built up since last year, which means fewer visits to the doctor!
Not only has my personal health improved, but my mental health has as well! I have been on top of all of my classes and actually had time to pursue extracurricular activities! I have found myself in many leadership positions, which I would have never been able to achieve last year. But most importantly, I ended the semester with all A’s.
I cannot thank the donors enough for such an amazing blessing. My quality of life has improved exponentially, and without all the food I honestly do not know where I would be today. All I can say is please keep this scholarship going, for I know there are many others out there with stories similar to my own. I personally would give anything to receive the scholarship again; I don’t know what I will do without it. However, I am more level headed and strong now because of last semester’s blessing, so I am sure I will figure something out. Overall, every single person who donated is my hero; I wish I could do something in return for everything that has been done for me. You guys have truly saved a life. Thank you.