The end of the semester can bring a lot of stress and can also mean that your meal plan may be running low. On top of last-minute projects for class and finals, you may also be struggling with figuring out where you’re going to get your next meal. Luckily, Big Orange Meal Share is here to help you.
The Big Orange Meal Share is a short-term assistance program that allocates meals to students in need. The program is in collaboration with Vol Dining and Swipe Out Hunger, a UT student organization. Students who apply will receive meals based on the information provided in their application, up to 20 allocated meals. Dean of Students graduate assistant Shaun Holloway has worked with the Big Orange Meal Share program and notes how the program became more flexible to meet individual student needs.
“In fall 2019, we added the option of five meals or 20 meals when reviewing applications for students and in spring 2020, we saw a need to provide an option for 10 meals,” said Holloway. “This change has made it easier for us to support students who may need greater support vs a student who may only need the meals every now and then.”
How to Get Meals
Step One: Apply
An application for Big Orange Meal Share is available for you to complete when you need additional meals. You will be asked to provide your meal plan option if you have one, your remaining flex dollars if any, and your level of food insecurity. This information will provide the application review team the necessary information to determine your need.
Step Two: Review Process
The Office of Dean of Students will review the application, determine eligibility, and notify you with a decision. The review team looks over the application within three business days depending on the volume of cases.
Step Three: Meal Usage
The meals will be loaded on a guest meal card that you can pick up at the Office of the Dean of Students. These cards can be used at on-campus dining halls including Fresh Food Company in Stokely Residence Hall and Presidential Food Court. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, students must make reservations to the dining halls through the GET App.
Can I reapply?
Big Orange Meal Share is meant to be a short-term meal assistance program. You can reapply for more meals, but you will also be referred to a case manager in order to develop a more long-term solution.
In addition to Big Orange Meal Share, UT will be opening a new on-campus food pantry called Big Orange Pantry, to support students in need. The pantry will serve students, faculty, and staff, offering emergency food assistance as well as holistic support thanks to partnerships with the Department of Nutrition, the College of Social Work, and many other campus units. Construction for Big Orange Pantry is underway so be on the lookout for more information coming soon!
We want you to remain successful at UT, and no Vol should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Big Orange Meal Share is here to help you finish this semester strong!