The SHOP opens up a branch at Camden campus

The SHOP expands into Camden to mitigate food insecurity in Rowan students. - Photo via Yasmine Wood

The SHOP is a staple institution on campus, which provides food, hygiene products, school supplies, and housewares to students who are unable to afford these necessities on their own.

The SHOP has previously expanded to small pantries for students on the satellite campuses in Stratford and Sewell. Now, this vital resource has been expanded to another of Rowan’s satellite campuses in Camden. 

Feb. 28 was the pantry’s first day in operation, working from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The plan is currently to keep this schedule throughout the rest of the current spring semester, then to use student feedback to add more times in the day or days through the week for operation if that is needed. 

Camden’s SHOP features two grocery-store-style refrigerators and an assortment of wire shelves that hold cereal, toilet paper, canned goods, pantry staples, and a variety of other necessities. 

The first night saw six students come through for groceries, with oil and flour being the most common items for students to take. 

Yasmine Wood is the undergraduate coordinator for The SHOP in Camden.

“We didn’t expect a lot of people to come out the first night because not that many people know about it. So we have to put more ads and stuff out there to get people’s attention,” said Wood. 

All of the students who attended have been asked to complete a survey about their experience so that The SHOP can use the information to better serve the needs of Rowan’s Camden community in the future. 

Dr. Andrew Perrone is the assistant director of the Office of Volunteerism and Community Engagement and is highly involved in the organization and management of The SHOP, as well as its expansion, both within Glassboro and onto Rowan’s other campuses. 

“We’ve stocked it with a bunch of stuff, but we don’t know the nature of what people want from that pantry. Is it different than what they get here? They have different needs. They have different interests. So we’re going to try to get feedback like how did the inventory do,” said Perrone. 

Differences in the way students shop at each campus may differ due to the habits and schedules of the students on each campus. 

“Several of the students did say that the things like the frozen meats, they were like, ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to take that because I’m here before class. After I leave here I have to go upstairs to class and then I go home later. So I can take rice and pasta and then normally bring it home later…. but if I take a pound of frozen beef, it’s gonna sit in my bag, possibly defrosting. It might not be good by the time I get home. It’s probably not good to take it frozen, let it unfreeze, bring it home, freeze it again.’ So they were uncertain about whether or not they would take some of those things,” said Perrone. 

Though the largest store area remains in Glassboro, the expansion of easily accessible, free food for Rowan students at all of the campuses run through the university is a major step in combating food insecurity among students. 

Donations will still be mostly centered around the Glassboro campus, with staff then driving the items to Camden, though The SHOP does plan to start accepting some donations from the Camden campus itself as well shortly, especially if Camden-based clubs want to run drives for the local pantry. 

Refrigerated items are transported from the Glassboro location by staff either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning before The SHOP begins operation on Wednesday night. 

Currently, the Camden pantry does not feature much produce, but that is something the team that handles the operations is looking to change.

“We can improve on getting more veggies… like fresh produce. I would like to be able to have that in Camden,” said Wood. 

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