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Food Pantry Serves Up Help to Students in Need

GCU Food Pantry

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.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Georgian Court University is a leading regional university that provides a transformative education, preparing students for ethical leadership and service in the Catholic Mercy tradition. Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. The university has a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women.

As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 1,900 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings.

The main campus is in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students through its Center for Professional Studies, and at other locations, including GCU at Brookdale, GCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online degree and certificate programs.