Augusta University families support student food pantry at Parent and Family Weekend

Three women standing over a cart filled with groceries.
Pantry donations being dropped off at Bellevue Hall on the Summerville Campus. Lyndsey Williams Mayweather (center) explained that when deciding which philanthropy to support during this year's Parent and Family Weekend, the food pantry proved most beneficial to AU students: "When looking at needs on campus, we felt the food pantry helped meet the basic needs of students at various points throughout the school year."

As a new tradition to Augusta University’s annual Parent and Family Weekend, the Parent and Family Association reached out to the AU community to support an important cause — the “Open Paws” student food pantry.

Families planning to visit campus were asked to donate shelf-stable food items, school supplies and hygiene items to support students in need, and they answered the call. From Friday, Sept. 27, to Sunday, Sept. 29, over 40 pounds of food, $50 of monetary contributions and numerous toiletry items were donated by our Jaguar families.

The Parent and Family Association and Student Life and Engagement initiated the philanthropy project to get Jaguar families involved with the campus community in a meaningful way. Lyndsey Williams Mayweather, assistant director of Student Life and Engagement, knew the Open Paws Pantry was already an area of interest to Jaguar families.

“During Jaguar Nation Orientation and Welcome, we always have lots of questions from families on how they can donate to the pantry or give back to the university in general. Because of this, we felt adding a philanthropic activity would be a positive addition to the weekend.”

Nine painted canvases sitting out to try on a table.
Finished canvases out to dry at the Jag Art station.
A family of three holding up paintings
A Jaguar family shows off their creations during Parent and Family Weekend.

Jaguar families were moved by the call to action. “The comments we received from families were really positive,” says Williams Mayweather. “Visitors kept saying they were glad to know that other families care about students and are willing to donate. I heard comments like, ‘We’re happy to be able to give. It could be our student who needs help next.’ The families were really excited and proud.”

Advisers of Parent and Family Weekend plan to add a philanthropic component to the weekend every year, and the organization supported will be decided by the Family Board.

Philanthropy aside, Parent and Family Weekend was a resounding success this year. The most popular event was the “Jag Art” station where families could paint canvases to commemorate their weekend at AU.

For more information about the Open Paws Food Pantry, contact Gina Thurman, associate dean of students and director of student advocacy. To learn more about Parent and Family Weekend, visit the Parent and Family Association website or email

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Written by
Paige Fowler

Paige Fowler is an editorial associate for Communications and Marketing at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at

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Written by Paige Fowler

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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