Hunger activist feeds college students hot lunch

An Alabama hunger activist operates a food bank that targets hungry college students four days a week in Alabama could eventually expand to Atlanta.

Lisa Thomas, a hunger activist, operates Carlissa Inc. which is a nonprofit food bank in Brewton, Alabama. Carlisa Inc. provides college students with a free hot lunch at a local community college four days a week.

McMillan said she came up with this idea when she encountered a hungry pair of college students who attend Jefferson Davis Community college sharing a bag of cookies becuse they were hungry.

“I said oh my gosh I’m going to feed these students,” McMillan said. “Thats when I started feeding the students for free.”

McMillan said many of the students are dropped off by their parents with no extra money. She said the parents may pay their tuition and cover there books but that many parents can’t afford to give their child any extra spending money. She said she doesn’t ask the students what their financial situation is or if they have money from loans or grants. It’s all based on an honor system.

“I don’t ask any questions about who needs it because you don’t never know who needs it,” McMillan said. “I also found out a lot of the students have to send their pell grant money home to help with the family.”

McMillan decided to create Carlisa Inc. specifically to provide hungry college students a hot lunch. Carlisa Inc. also provides the elderly with meals along with helping them with their utility bills with the money they receive through donations.

McMillan said she would consider opening a Carlisa Inc. in Atlanta if she could get local Atlanta corporations to back her nonprofit organiztion with donations. She said college students across the country are hungry, not just in Brewton.

McMillan Maria Ball, a senior Georgia State university student, said if someone brought this same idea to Atlanta it probably wouldn’t work. She said students who aren’t hungry would abuse the system and take food from students who are really hungry.

“There is no way to check and see who really has money and who doesn’t,” Ball said. “Some students may show up just to get free food.”

Ball said she doesn’t know if putting a limit to the number of people who can eat each day would help but she loves the idea because it’s something for a good cause.

“I had never heard of anyone offering students who are hungry a free meal,” Ball said.

Dawanna Owens, a Georgia Sate senior, said she isn’t sure college students are hungry like some of the less fortunate people who arent students. She said college students shouldn’t be hungry because the can get a meal plan through the school.

“A lot of college students have an option of getting a meal plan,” Jones said. “Its a good idea but there are other people out there who are less fortunate than college students. College students don’t have a seious need for food from what I’ve seen.”

Owens said she respects what Lisa McMillan is doing for the students in her community. She said she would like to see her target the homeless community less fortunate than the college students.