NJCU cuts ribbon on Gothic Knights Food Pantry


Monica Sarmiento, Editor-in-Chief

President Sue Henderson, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Jimmy Jung, Interim Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jodi Bailey, Assistant Director of Community Engagement Robert Quinones, and NJCU alumni Rukiya Bluford who will be overseeing the upcoming Community Center’s day-to-day operations, were all present at the Gothic Knight Food Pantry’s (GKFP) ribbon cutting this afternoon.

The Food Pantry is one of the first steps NJCU has taken to build a new Community Center, an initiative within the Center for Community Engagement and Campus Life.

Addressing the crowd in GSUB, where the GKFP is located, Sue Henderson said “Recently, NJCU began a needs assessment for food insecurity on our campus and the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs deemed it was necessary for the campus to launch a food pantry, plans for a food pantry as well as create a pathway for students to access social services through the main location on campus. Currently, the university offers three options for students, faculty and staff to be able to access food: The Gothic Knight Food Pantry, the Helping Our Neighbors Eat program and the Weekend Backpack Program.”

The GKFP has had a total of 315 visits and has distributed over 2,300 pounds of food within just three weeks. Over 154 total meals has been distributed in two weeks through the Helping Our Neighbors Eat Program, and 13 backpacks have been distributed through the Weekend Backpack Program.

“One of the key things that an institution of higher education must do is to be important to its community,” President Henderson said, “It must be an anchor in its community, and I think that we are. We are for the arts, we are for the education we offer, we are an anchor because of our graduates.”

The Gothic Knight Food Pantry is located in GSUB Room 121 and is open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

HONE: Helping Our Neighbors Eat can be found in GSUB Room 121 on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursdays for hot meal distribution from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Weekend Backpack Program is in GSUB Room 111. Backpacks are distributed on Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. A signup form is available in GSUB Room 109 and must be submitted at least one day before distribution.