Faculty, staff and students from Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business partnered this summer with an area food bank to help provide more than 8,400 meals to those in need.
The monetary and physical donations to “Feeding the Valley,” a Columbus, Ga.-based food bank, helped the organization continue to serve more than 2,700 children daily during a period that is generally the leanest in terms of donations.
“We are so proud of our students for getting involved and giving back,” said Dr. Lane Boyte-Eckis, associate professor of economics. “The Sorrell College of Business faculty, staff and students from all campuses generously combined efforts to provide 8,434 meals to the organization through both monetary and physical donations. For every $1 raised, Feeding the Valley can provide six meals, so they really make monetary donations go quite far.”
Feeding the Valley is one of eight regional food banks in Georgia. Its service area includes 13 counties in Georgia, along with Russell County, Alabama. The service area has a population of 437,000 people, nearly 90,000 of which, including 35,000 under the age of 18, are considered food insecure.
The idea for choosing Feeding the Valley as the beneficiary of the college’s generosity came from TROY senior business administration/global business student Margalena Remington, who serves as the food bank’s food resourcing manager. Remington knew first-hand of the demand the food bank faces during the summer months – both as an employee and a former client.
“In 2010, I was a client; however, I became a volunteer, then was hired as a warehouse assistant, working my way up to warehouse manager and now, my current position, as food sourcing manager,” she said. “I came from a large family with at least 12 people living in the house at all times. I remember summers being a hard time for us to have enough food in our house. So, when I brought up the need in class, I was speaking from experience.”
Remington said she was “blown away” by the response she received and the effort put forth by fellow students, faculty and staff.
“I am honored to be a part of a school that has students and teachers so willing to help,” she said.
Remington is on track to graduate in fall 2019 and says she has her “dream job.” She is currently responsible for developing relationships with local and national retailers to increase food donations and to improve accessibility. She also coordinates logistics to receive food donations from major donors.
“The best thing about my job is to see the impact it makes on our community such as a mother and her children receiving fresh produce they couldn’t otherwise afford, a senior not having to choose between medicine and food, a child that receives a birthday cake that otherwise wouldn’t have one,” she said. “I am able to help change people’s lives one meal at a time. Feeding the Valley is more than a job; it is my home away from home. My goal is to become operations manager and later CEO.”
The generosity of TROY students, faculty and staff impressed CEO Frank Sheppard so much that it prompted him to pay a recent visit to Boyte-Eckis’ class at TROY’s Phenix City Riverfront Campus.
“Our thanks to Dr. Eckis, the staff and the student body of Troy University for the food and fund drive they recently completed,” Sheppard said. “With over 125 donors, these dedicated students and faculty donated enough food and money to provide over 8,000 meals to children in need in our community. This is a great example of how each person giving just a little can add up to make a great difference. One in five children in our area battle chronic hunger, but with the help of groups like this one from TROY, we can all change lives one meal at a time.”