The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning has been awarded two grants that will be used to partner with Georgia Northwestern Technical College to fund a resource center on GNTC’s Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton. The resource center will provide students with food and access to local organizations.
The first grant for $15,000 from the Two-Generation Innovation Fund Capacity Building Grant will be used to build the resource center. The second grant from the Two-Generation Innovation Fund Implementation Grant for $25,000 will be used to equip and stock the center.
“The resource center is important because some GNTC students report that they sometimes struggle to afford food and they need other sources of support,” said Jan Lanier, GNTC dean of Student Success. “The resource center will offer a food pantry and will also assist students with accessing community resources while they are enrolled at GNTC.”
Suzanne Harbin, director of the Early Childhood Initiative for the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, wrote the grants after she reviewed a survey sent out last fall by the University of Georgia’s School of Public Health.
The survey showed a high number of GNTC students in the community were running out of basic food items by the end of the month, Ms. Harbin said. The survey also showed that 48 percent of GNTC students in the Dalton area had children, making the need for the resource center even greater. Ms. Harbin said establishing a resource center will provide students not only with food but also connect them with organizations like Dalton Heritage Head Start who can help with childcare for young children.
“We will be reaching out to those students and helping them connect with community resources in the Dalton area,” said Ms. Harbin.
The center is still in the development stage and is scheduled to be complete this summer. According to Ms. Lanier, shelves, a refrigerator and other equipment has arrived at the center. Once everything is in place, the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia and Dalton Heritage Head Start will be on-hand to provide students with information.