DSC hosts 3rd annual Fill the Feeder basketball game on Saturday

Matt Hamilton/Daily Citizen-News

Maddox Norton has the best seat in the house as he watches the Dalton State College basketball team play at the Dalton Convention Center earlier this season. Norton towels up sweat from the floor during lulls in the action. On Saturday, Dalton State holds a canned goods drive at its 2 p.m. game against Bethel University (Tennessee) at the convention center. The Fill the Feeder food drive benefits the college's Birdfeeder pantry, which provides food and personal items to students who need them at no charge.

Since the beginning of the school year, more than 9,000 food and personal care items have been distributed to Dalton State College students in need thanks to the not-for-profit food pantry on campus, the Birdfeeder.

To replenish the food pantry, Dalton State’s athletics department hosts the third annual Fill the Feeder basketball game on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Dalton Convention Center. The 13-1 Roadrunners take on Bethel University (Tennessee).

Everyone who brings at least one nonperishable food item or personal care item for the Birdfeeder will get free general admission. Season ticket holders who bring a donation will receive free popcorn.

One-third of students in the nation struggle with getting enough to eat or having a secure place to live, said Veronica Summers, assistant athletics director. Students at Dalton State are no exception, she said.

“At last year’s Fill the Feeder game, the community donated more than 800 food items and the food drive on campus collected 2,344 donations,” Summers said. “The partnership Dalton State has with our amazing community is imperative to the Birdfeeder’s success.”

“We believe students should not have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, so they can focus on excelling in classes and obtaining their degrees,” said Autumn Hooten, Birdfeeder manager. “Without donors, it would not be possible for us to help students in the capacity that we do. The Fill the Feeder basketball game is one of our largest food drives and helps provide many meals to students. We are grateful for every donor that helps make the Birdfeeder successful.”

Dalton State students have visited the Birdfeeder more than 1,400 times since August alone, Hooten said. She also said they have distributed an estimated 7,181 meals to some 428 students who can visit the food pantry for their needs every week. The Birdfeeder provided 38 supplemental food care packages for students in need over winter break.

“Without donors, we wouldn't be able to serve the students the way we do,” said Tamiah Daniel, a student worker at the Birdfeeder who is a social work major.

“Our department wants to give back to the students and ensure that they have whatever they need to be successful,” Summers said. “We always keep the students in mind and consider what benefits the entire campus whenever possible, not just the athletics department.”

Items needed include microwaveable meals, canned meat, canned vegetables (not green beans), condiments, beans, rice and pasta. Personal hygiene items are needed as well such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste.

Those wishing to make a monetary donation to the Birdfeeder may do so at www.giving.daltonstate.edu by clicking “Give Now” and then designating the gift to “Birdfeeder.” The pantry receives no institutional funding.

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