Durham Tech wins Collegiate Hunger Challenge in community college division

“We won!” said Durham Tech Hunger Ambassador and student volunteer Jessica Zettlemoyer.

From September through December, Durham Tech’s Campus Harvest Food Pantry took part in the fifth annual Collegiate Hunger Challenge, competing against 13 other colleges and universities. The challenge tackled food insecurity on college campuses and empowered students, employees, and community members to create awareness about hunger as they competed to collect the most food for those experiencing hunger.

The Collegiate Hunger Challenge was created by Food Lion Feeds, Food Lion’s hunger relief platform, and NC Engagement, a collaborative network of colleges and universities committed to educating students on civic and social responsibility. The campuses were competing for the $10,000 overall prize, and a $5,000 prize each for the leading community college, four-year public college, and four-year private institution.

“We won our [among community colleges] and will receive $5,000,” Zettlemoyer said. “We will put the money to good use and continue the battle against food insecurity on our campus.”

Jake Dueterman, coordinator of the Durham Tech Campus Harvest Food Pantry and hunger mentor, and Zettlemoyer will visit Guilford College on Feb. 14 for the check presentation.  

“With the check in hand we have some strategic infrastructure plans for the pantry,” Dueterman said. “New shelving, plywood sheets to support the shelves we already have, and a utility cart for starters. We want to do more with the space we have.”

With the rest of the prize money Dueterman and Zettlemoyer plan to purchase most needed items such as snacks, hygiene products, and diapers.

“Durham Tech students, employees, and community members who knew we were competing really stepped up,” Dueterman said. “Competing in the challenge broadened the presence of the food pantry on campus and the community even though the pantry is available only to current Durham Tech students and employees.  

Dueterman credits the high participation to Zettlemoyer.  “Jessica ran with this thing. ... Jessica pushed and succeeded.”

Zettlemoyer said the win is a win-win since the pantry gained exposure, and the money will enable greater service to current students and employees.

“One more gain for me personally was gaining a deeper understanding of what food insecurity work looks like, not just at Durham Tech, but across the college system,” Dueterman said.