Tag Archives: The SHOP TCNJ

The Shop Reopens to Provide Aid to TCNJ Students, Members of the Mercer County Community

By Jahsaun Blackshear

In the modern world, countless people are experiencing hardships. There are students facing a lack of resources that are not being properly fulfilled. The U.S. fights against hunger and for the fulfillment of the needs of communities. In New Jersey, various volunteers, donation centers and fundraising organizations are dedicated to ending hunger. The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) has stepped up to create a way for students and community members who are struggling to afford sufficient food.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, TCNJ reopened its food pantry, The Shop, which provides for the surrounding neighborhoods in Ewing and TCNJ students by offering food, utility assistance, TCNJ Student Emergency Fund and other necessities.

When asked what inspired her to be a part of The Shop, Case Manager Alexa Horvath said, “providing food to the campus and local community and helping to address at least one basic need.”

Because students’ main focus is on their academics, The Shop helps alleviate some students’ concerns surrounding food insecurity by providing basic necessities. The Shop’s mission of serving the community takes it one step closer to eradicating food insecurity on campus. According to The Shop’s website, nearly 30% to 40% of college students face some level of food insecurity. When asked about the impact The Shop has on the community, Horvath said, “Whether this is something that our community uses to help through a difficult time, or more regularly to help support their access to food, the amount of visitors that we have seen over a relatively short period of time seems to indicate that this has been a valuable resource.”

The Shop helps students on campus both academically and personally. It also helps with networking, meeting new people and gaining access to better resources.

Through providing food to the campus and local community, The Shop addresses at least one of their basic needs. The Shop’s staff wants everyone to know that “you can make a difference and help keep our shelves stocked by donating non-perishable items.”

Anyone wishing to donate to The Shop can do so by visiting give.tcnj.edu. Click “give now,” select fund: “The SHOP@TCNJ.” The Shop also has an Amazon registry where people can donate items to them.

The Shop is located at 700 Campus Town Drive, which is at TCNJ’s campus. Those seeking to connect with The Shop can also contact them at care@tcnj.edu and follow them on Instagram @theshop__tcnj.

College Opens Innovative Food Pantry in Ewing Township

Editor’s Note: Last winter, The Streetlight reported that a food pantry was in the works for The College of New Jersey. In the time since, the facility has opened its doors.

By Hannah Keyes and Brie Wells

The SHOP @ TCNJ is not the typical shopping destination for most college students, but for many, it provides resources needed to get through the week.

Located at The College of New Jersey’s (TCNJ) Campus Town in Ewing Township, The SHOP is a food pantry that provides resources to those who may be experiencing food insecurity. The SHOP offers many different resources such as canned goods, hygiene products, some clothing items, microwavable meals, bottled water, feminine care products, fruits, grains, and vegetables. The SHOP also offers vegetarian and gluten free products for those who may have other dietary concerns.

It is open not only to college students, but also to faculty and general community members who may be in need. There are no questions asked.

Alana Adams, the College Enhancement Intern for The SHOP, mentioned that “food insecurity impacts nearly 40% of college students nationwide, so there should be no shame associated with utilizing the resources your campus or community provides.”

However, there is often a negative preconceived notion surrounding the use of a food pantry and seeking help.

“We don’t know what you’re going through, but we are here to support you in the best way that we can. We want to have an experience with you. We want to provide a welcoming, comforting, inclusive, and safe environment where you are seen as a person,” emphasized AmeriCorps member and TCNJ Garden and Food Security program assistant Horacio Hernandez.

TCNJ students in Mercer County are the catalysts that brought light to the situation that many members of the community face everyday. The inception of The SHOP began when concerned students asked for referrals or file requests to provide emergency aid to those struggling to eat constantly or to find adequate housing. This need became especially apparent during extended school breaks.

“TCNJ has a Student Emergency Fund, which students can apply and receive limited funding for temporary housing or food. With the help of other organizations, the Dean of Students Office launched the SHOP in February 2019, which serves as a more long-term solution to students in need, where they can receive food and other supplies on a weekly basis,” Adams added.

The building space that The SHOP occupies was offered by the chief of TCNJ’s Campus Police and allowed for everything to officially get started.

In order to support the surrounding communities, The SHOP works in conjunction with Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, TCNJ Student and Academic Affairs, and TCNJ Campus Police. According to the Program Associate of the Adult Hunger Programs at Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, Pamela Sims Jones, “The Food Bank is here to support The SHOP with non-perishable and perishable commodities as needed so that The SHOP can continue to support the TCNJ community members who may be food insecure.”

With the aid of Mercer Street Friends Food Bank and the rest of their partners, The SHOP hopes to be able to provide resources to those who do not have access to food and to help end the stigma surrounding asking for help. In the future The SHOP not only wants to provide basic necessities but to also give additional support for various aspects of life.

Donations and offered help are always accepted and valued by The SHOP. Recently there was a Greek Life food drive competition to see which Greek organization could donate the most food to The SHOP.

There are many additions that The SHOP hopes to add services as time goes on, such as extra training for staff members, more partnerships with other organizations, the ability to provide hot meals, and the list goes on. The SHOP has a lot in store for the future.