The SHOP’s “Adopt-a-Family” puts food on the Thanksgiving table

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"Adopt a Family" provides an opportunity for Thanksgiving dinner to be available and accessible to food insecure families. Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

The Shop’s “Adopt-a-Family” program works to provide students with proper Thanksgiving meals.

In the spirit of the holiday season, The SHOP, Rowan’s on-campus food pantry and resource center, is lending a helping hand to ensure students and their families in need have a full table of food this Thanksgiving. The organization also works with the Boys & Girls Club as well as the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P) in the state of New Jersey to tackle food insecurity within the community.

Assistant Director of the Office of Volunteerism & Community Engagement (VCE) Andrew Perrone says The SHOP works to help others during the holidays with their Adopt-a-Family program, which tasks willing donors with buying non-perishable goods and gift cards for needy families.

This Thanksgiving season, donors can also adopt small, medium, or large-sized families that will have enough supplies to provide a meal that will fill the entire family. Last year, they provided meals to 168 families and raised $5,730 in gift cards.

“We [the SHOP] solicit donations from students, faculty, staff, and community members, and each donor takes on one full family’s worth of food,” said Perrone. “It gives a family a full set of groceries, non-perishables, and then a gift card that would buy perishable items needed to support them throughout the entire Thanksgiving weekend.” 

Breanna Bryant is a student worker at the VCE and helps run The SHOP’s Adopt-a-Family program. This year, 152 boxes of food were donated to the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Glassboro and Paulsboro. Through her work, Bryant has been able to provide multiple families with all the goods they need to have a successful Thanksgiving.

“Volunteering is something I’ve always been passionate about and it feels good when you get to help others that need it,” said Bryant.

For those who can’t purchase groceries for an entire family and want to donate a few items, The SHOP, located in the 141 Building 5 in Rowan Blvd Apartments, is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m. and accepts donations year round. They also take non-food products including personal care and hygiene products as well as school supplies. 

If anyone is unable to make it in the mornings, there are shopping carts located in the Chamberlain Student Center, Campbell Library, and Savitz Hall where students and staff can drop off items they wish to donate. 

Shop Coordinator Alexandria Kerr says she’s incredibly grateful for the amount of support The SHOP gets, as she knows people’s donations go a long way to help these families.

“We [The SHOP] are incredibly thankful for every donation we receive,” said Kerr. “Knowing how expensive the holidays can be, I’m incredibly thankful that students have a food pantry available to them on campus. No one should have to worry about food insecurity ever and that fact remains especially true over the holidays.”

Through The SHOP, the VCE is able to offer a helping hand to all students and their families in need, something Perrone is extremely proud of. While he knows he can’t help students with everything they go through during their time at Rowan, he’s happy to be able to offer support in an effort to ensure no one goes hungry during the holidays.

“There’s enough things you have to deal with when you’re a student besides trying to figure out where to get your next meal is,” said Perrone. “I can’t necessarily alleviate all the things that students might struggle with, you know, I can’t take your test for you, but I can help out with these other things so students can focus on being successful.”

For anyone looking to support The Shop, email VCE @volunteer.rowan.edu.

For comments/questions about this story DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan or email thewhit.newseditor@gmail.com

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