The Thanksgiving holiday may be over, but organizers of the Georgian Court University food pantry remain grateful. The pantry in Mercy Hall, an outreach of GCU’s Office of Campus Ministry, takes care of students facing food insecurity. And thanks to the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, the pantry now has enough food to fill three freezers.
That means GCU students in need have access to a wider variety of food, such as hamburgers, chicken, and bagels. The BlueClaws’ recent donation and the many items donated by the university community reflect growing needs nationwide. The demand for food assistance has grown dramatically during the pandemic. According to Feeding America, one of the largest nonprofit charities addressing hunger, “more than 80 percent, or 4 in 5, food banks are serving more people now than they did a year ago.” National organizers also estimate 40 percent of food recipients this year never visited a food pantry or food bank before.
At GCU, Campus Ministry has more great things planned beyond the Thanksgiving Food Basket drive, according to social work intern Tyrek Cooper ’21, who manages the pantry. A food insecurity survey—meant to help guide future initiatives—was recently sent to the GCU student body. A Christmas gift card drive is also being conducted to help families in the community.
Tyrek’s passion for the food pantry mirrors his support for a range of programs and causes on campus, including a social justice memorial for Breonna Taylor, the Kentucky woman killed by police earlier in 2020.
“Even when there’s time of negativity, even when there’s a lot going on in the world, we still have the potential to be positive,” he says.
To learn more about the Office of Campus Ministry and its outreach programs, contact Jeff Schaffer, director of campus ministry.
About the Georgian Court Food Pantry
Georgian Court University takes care of its students, especially those facing food insecurity. The GCU food pantry, an outreach of the Office of Campus Ministry, offers both perishable and nonperishable items, as well as some basic toiletries. The food pantry is located in Mercy Hall. Most of the items offered are donated by faculty, staff, and alumni. Students can drop by and shop in person or they can submit an online order form. A social work intern, a student worker, and a few volunteers handle the pantry’s day-to-day operations.
Story contributed by Georgian Court University English major Erica Caleca ’20.