USAC virtual food drive exceeds goal, provides over 21,000 meals to Middle TN neighbors

Vanderbilt’s University Staff Advisory Council partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee in February to raise $5,335 and provide more than 21,000 meals to community members in need across the region.

USAC has partnered with Second Harvest on physical food drives for many years but moved its efforts online in 2021 to make an even greater impact.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work of the USAC Events Committee in this effort,” said Caroline Caldwell-Johnston, president of USAC for 2020-21. “In a year when adaptability has been critical, the committee stepped up to the plate and thought of a new and innovate way to support this longstanding USAC tradition.

“With support from the Communication Committee, Felisha Baquera championed and led this effort, exceeding the goal to raise $5,000,” Caldwell-Johnston said. “I’m also especially grateful to the Vanderbilt community, which stepped up to support the cause and helped to provide more than 21,000 meals for Middle Tennessee families in need. Hunger in Middle Tennessee is a pervasive issue, and I’m glad our university is united in working toward fighting it.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, one in six adults—and one in five children—struggle with hunger each day in Middle Tennessee. Second Harvest is experiencing a startling increase in need, and more people than ever are using the food bank’s resources for the first time. The organization is distributing nearly 40 percent more pounds of food per week compared to this time last year. This means Second Harvest must purchase an additional 100,000 pounds of food each week to feed our Middle Tennessee neighbors.

Second Harvest donates 96 cents of every dollar directly to programming. For more information, visit