Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) and the Rotary Club of Washington Township joined forces to fight food insecurity among college students on Wednesday, Nov. 29, signing a partnership agreement that will supply additional resources and support to the College's Roadrunner's Refuel food pantry.
Sponsored by the RCGC Chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges, the pantry was established in January and offers supplemental food to eligible students who are in need of assistance. Free and confidential, Roadrunner's Refuel provides hungry students with meals that can be easily consumed on campus so that they can concentrate on their education.
"The Rotary will work with the Roadrunner's Refuel program to make sure that the students here receive the food they need to be successful," said Randee Davidson, executive director of Institutional Advancement. "It is important for students not to be hungry, to be able to grab something to eat and go back to class and know that there is a caring community supporting their success."
To date, the food pantry has helped to feed more than 80 students, serving 30 to 50 individuals weekly. College employees, student clubs and local organizations all help to keep the cupboard stocked.
RCGC's newest partner also brings to the pantry an added bonus —support from Gloucester County Institute of Technology (GCIT) high school students. GCIT's Drama Club holds an annual food drive that benefits the Rotary Club. A large portion of the food collected will now find its way to Roadrunner's Refuel.
"This ongoing partnership with the Rotary Club of Washington Township and the students of GCIT represents a milestone for our food pantry," noted Samantha VanKooy, executive director of Student Engagement. "This partnership will ensure that we can support our students and fulfill one of their basic needs."
Food insecurity has become a major concern at colleges across the nation and has been linked to poor health, substandard academic performance and adverse mental health symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. A new study by the Urban Institute, based on data from the U.S. Consensus Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "finds that 13 percent of community college students lack the food and nutrition they need."
"Our institution and the students are proud to partner with the Rotary of Washington Township and RCGC to help feed anyone in need within our community, especially those attending school," said GCIT Principal Jamie Dundee.
"Rotary is one of the largest service organizations in the world. Our mission is to bring business and community leaders together to make the world a better place," added Rotary District Governor Thomas Fletcher. "This is the kind of project we are thrilled to take on."
"We have taken steps over the past year as a College to combat food insecurity on our campus with the launch of Roadrunner's Refuel," said RCGC President Frederick Keating. "As we delved into this mission, we quickly found out that the need exceeds the supply. This triangular partnership — the Rotary Club of Washington Township, GCIT and RCGC — will be of great benefit to the students here, and we thank them for joining the fight against food insecurity on our campus."
For more information or to donate to Roadrunner's Refuel, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rowan College at Gloucester County's 250-acre campus is located at 1400 Tanyard Road in Deptford, right off Exit 56 of Route 55.