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TIAA Bank helping to fuel UNF students for success

As the holidays grow near, UNF’s Lend-A-Wing pantry just Lend A Wing van and students loading suppliesreceived a very special gift from TIAA Bank – a dedicated van for the program.

The student-run Lend-A-Wing pantry provides food free-of-charge and anonymously to UNF students in need. While some items are donated by faculty, staff and others, the pantry also works closely with partners like Feeding Northeast Florida, a local community food bank and uses monetary donations to purchase food. Picking up items and transporting them back to campus has been a huge challenge for pantry staff, who either used their own vehicles or had to rent vans to make the pickups.

“In the past, stocking the pantry has been a huge to-do,” said Natalie Costello, student director of Lend-A-Wing. “Now, we will be able to restock the pantry more often, and our shopping trips will definitely go a lot smoother!” A van has been a longstanding need for the pantry, but funding was just not available according to Costello. “We are just are so grateful to TIAA Bank for making this possible.”

Lend A Wing vanTIAA Bank has been a valued partner to UNF for more than a decade providing first-generation scholarships to UNF students, but when bank staff learned about Lend-A-Wing during a campus tour, they wanted to do even more.

Paul Pugh, head of sponsorships and community development at TIAA Bank, said the bank believes in education and wants to help eliminate obstacles so educational success becomes a reality for UNF students. According to the Harvard Political Review, almost 50% of college students will struggle with food insecurity at some point in their college career, and studies show that hungry students are more likely to have lower GPAs. “I’m looking forward to seeing it on the road,” Pugh said of the van, “and I know that every time I see that, it is helping to fuel students for success.”

During the last academic year alone, the Lend-A-Wing pantry logged more than 3,500 interactions with students and more than 33,175 food items were shared.