NCLC partners at the Berkeley College Foundation launched its newest resource to help students succeed with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 8, 2019. A food pantry, located at Berkeley College’s Newark campus on Broad Street, was made possible through a $10,000 donation from the Foundation.
“There are many factors that contribute to success,” said Kevin L. Luing, Chairman, Berkeley College Board of Trustees, who spoke about his 15-year relationship with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “Now we can help with basic needs, and offer another resource to help our students be successful.”
The Center for Food Action estimates that one-third of undergraduate college students nationwide face food insecurity. According to a study by Feeding America, Essex County has the highest rate of food insecurity in New Jersey. Berkeley College is one of 20 colleges offering food pantries on campus in the Garden State.
“Our students are working hard in the classroom, at their internships, and at their jobs, but hunger can make it hard to focus, and hard to be successful,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College. “Students go to college to build better lives for themselves and their families. They should not have to choose between going to school and eating a healthy meal.”
The mission of the Berkeley College Foundation is to provide financial support for student success, including through scholarships and educational enrichment.
“The Berkeley College Foundation recognizes both the basic and complex challenges that students face every day as they pursue their dreams,” said Dario A. Cortes, PhD, Executive Director, Berkeley College Foundation. “It is our hope that through this food pantry, we can remove some of these barriers to success, so our future leaders can reach their full potential.”
Michelle Jansen, Director of Schools and Community Outreach at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, voiced her support of the Foundation’s efforts.
“We know that students across the state struggle with the hard decision of paying for tuition, paying for books, paying for housing, and paying for food,” Ms. Jansen said. “It is a decision no one should have to make. With the creation of this food pantry, we know hunger has no place on this Berkeley College campus.”
Erica Xicara of Linden, NJ, Vice President of the Student Government Association at Berkeley College in Newark, will complete her Associate’s degree in Health Sciences this year. The wife and mother of two shared her personal challenges in balancing her education with the basic needs of her family.
“The real struggles are the ones we face outside of school,” said Ms. Xicara, adding that she and her husband made significant career adjustments so she could pursue her degree. “The food pantry will ease the burden of students who struggle to feed their families because they have made the choice to better their lives.”
The food pantry offers more than 30 items such as pasta, tuna fish, granola bars and soy milk. The resource will be open three days a week to Berkeley College students from all campuses.
See the Photos: Click here to view photos from the food pantry ribbon-cutting ceremony at Berkeley College in Newark.