Rowan University fights hunger on campus

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018
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Rowan University fights hunger on campus. Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News at 5:30 p.m. on November 27, 2018.

GLASSBORO, N.J. (WPVI) -- When it comes to colleges and food, you may think of late night binges on burgers and burritos and the Freshman 15. But the stereotype of the broke college student is real and hunger on college campuses has become a serious problem.

You may have heard of the Ramen Noodle Diet, a joking reference to cash-strapped college students nationwide. But when Rowan University actually did a survey on hunger, they found a shocking amount of need.

Since late October, a Philabundance Fresh for All has set up shop every Friday morning in a Rowan University Parking Lot.

They hand out fresh produce to members of the college and the community.

Samantha Stimpson, a junior at Rowan University said, "They've had beets, and mangos, and zucchini. It's really been a lifesaver. "

The partnership between Philabundance and a university is a first.

The idea sparked by a task force of student leaders and university administrators finding half of the college students surveyed said they didn't always have enough money to buy food.

Rowan University Student Body President Rbrey Shingleton said, "We were really surprised and I've been involved with Student Government since my freshman year and that was an issue. We represent students on campus and to know that 51% of our constituency is going hungry that was a big problem for us."

Robert Weaver, Professor of Health and Exercise Science, Rowan Univ. said, "And I think it's getting more serious because more and more students 30 years ago wouldn't have thought about coming to university, wouldn't have felt like they needed to come to the university, I feel like in this day in age in the knowledge economy and so forth that they need a university degree."

The Fresh For All is the 2nd step Rowan has taken to alleviate student hunger.

An on-campus pantry known as The Shop was the first.

"I come once a week," said junior Alyssa Mountes.

It opened in the fall of 2017, and it provides students like Alyssa Mountes with everything from cereals and soups, to school supplies, toiletries.

And yes even Ramen Noodles.

Penny McPherson-Myers, Assoc. VP, Diversity and Organizational Effectiveness, Rowan University said, "We're staffed with a food pantry coordinator who is also a social worker to address any additional needs and challenges that they might find."

The goal is to fill empty bellies and ease worried minds.

"I take five classes. I also do work. It takes a lot of pressure off of am I going to eat or is my family going to be okay, so the students can focus on just being students," added Montes.

If you'd like to help your neighbors in need this holiday season, click here to Connect, Share, Give..


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