Roderick “Dee” Gladney is a native of Thomasville and is majoring in chemistry.
Gladney is the delegata — or the president — of the Order of the Grail-Valkyries and the founder of Carolina Cupboard: Community Food Pantry. He proposes using the Mr. UNC award to benefit Carolina Cupboard, a food pantry for students.
“I think it’s important for the community because there are food pantries in Chapel Hill and in Durham, however, those are really inconvenient for people who don’t have transportation,” Gladney said.
The easy access food pantry will hopefully make it easy for students who need it most.
“This will be here, in-house, ready for them,” Gladney said. “Those who don’t have the upper socio-economic status fall through the cracks. We have students who send back money home for their family, and they’re going to suffer.”
The process to get Carolina Cupboard off the ground was tough, but Gladney knew the end result would be worth it.
“Perseverance was one of the biggest qualities that a leader should have,” he said” If I didn’t do it, the need was still going to be there.”
Gladney’s service project will help him put food in the pantry that will also be healthy, which Gladney hopes will help low-income students get the nutrients they need.
“We get canned foods, but sometimes these goods are high in sodium, low in nutrition,” he said.
Gladney hopes the Mr. UNC platform will give him the visibility he needs to toss out stereotypes about poverty.
“Sometimes the low echelon of socio-economic status is associated with obesity,” Gladney said.
“So the money would be used to get food with low sodium, low sugar.”
Gladney will also use the money to better equip the pantry with the items and equipment it needs to operate in perpetuity.
“We also need to buy donation bins, storage bins around for campus. We’d also use the money to raise awareness.”