Students Help Students With New Food Pantry on Ocean County College Campus

Donations From the Public Are Appreciated
Mar 07, 2018

Food insecurity is increasing at colleges and universities across the country, with a significant number of undergraduates going hungry. At Ocean County College, students have stepped forward to help confront this problem.

Since last month, OCC’s new food pantry – Helping Hands – has been assisting currently enrolled students in need at the two-year community college. Food-insecure students can stop by the Jon and Judith Larson Student Center, on the college’s main campus in Toms River, on Mondays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to pick up nonperishable food and drink items. Individuals need only show their current valid OCC ID.

According to Alison Noone, assistant director of student life, “This pantry was created to assist college students as they battle with something very extreme, food insecurity. For many years now, Ocean County College has wanted to have a food pantry for its students in need. Another meal program was established in 2012, Pay It Forward, to help our students. However, we knew the campus needed more. The Tau Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (national honor society) partnered with the Student Life Office to finally make this dream a reality.”

While most donations to the Helping Hands Food Pantry have come from students, faculty and staff, the public is encouraged to donate as well. The pantry is in need of nonperishable food items, most preferably single serve, individually packaged and with pull-tab openings – which students can easily eat between classes or quickly microwave.

Requested items include: cheese and peanut butter crackers; beef jerky; instant macaroni and cheese; applesauce, pudding and fruit cups; cereal and granola; protein bars; Chef Boyardee and SpaghettiOs; canned vegetables and fruit; boxed fruit and tomato juice; packaged nuts, dried fruit and trail mix; fruit snacks; and chips, pretzels, Goldfish and cookies.

Monetary donations, in the form of checks, are also accepted. Checks should be made payable to Ocean County College, with Helping Hands in the memo, and mailed to: The Office of Student Life, Ocean County College, P.O. Box 2001, Toms River, N.J. 08754.

“Tau Iota’s executive board has worked vigorously the past few months fundraising, communicating with local food pantries, stocking food and much more,” said Aza Nageeb, president of Tau Iota at OCC. “Thanks to the support of Student Life, Tau Iota is one step closer to accomplishing our goals: making a difference in the lives of our peers, every day. This project has made an impact on many of the board members as we worked day and night to make this happen. However, receiving emails from students expressing their gratitude makes it all worth it.”

For more information, contact Noone at 732-255-0400, extension 2138, or —J.K.-H.

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