By Trevor Schmidt
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – The Camden County College food pantry recently opened to help end hunger for students on the Camden and Blackwood campuses.
The food pantry, called the Marketplace, has products such as muffins, breads, canned foods, cereals, snacks, bottled water, shampoos, feminine products and school supplies. The number of items is growing week by week.
Judy Peaks, who runs the food pantry on both campuses, said students should feel secure in a nonjudgmental environment in the pantry.
“It’s safe. It’s nonjudgmental. Everybody is welcome. The only thing I take when a student comes in to shop is the student ID, their class schedule and we don’t take income because it’s all free,” Peaks said. “It’s neat, clean and the students are treated with respect.”
Addressing food insecurity has been one of the mottos of the Marketplace. Camden County College student Bev Hansen said she volunteers at the pantry to help hungry students understand it is OK to ask for help.
She said she wants to “help immediately what needs helping but also to go behind the reason we need this help … to balance a socioeconomic status.”
Peaks said she wants the Marketplace to reach as many students as possible. “We understand that it’s only temporary because students are only here temporary, but my goal is leaving the student with a good impression and they come back in the future to donate and contribute to the Marketplace to help others in need.”
Food drives have been held on the Camden County College campuses before but this is the first time the college has had a food pantry at which students can seek help to overcome hunger. Students, professors and staff members are being asked to donate food and money and they have been doing so.
The Marketplace in Room 200 of the Otto R. Mauke Community Center on the Blackwood campus is open from noon to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. The Marketplace in Room 405B in College Hall on the Camden Campus is open from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The Rohrer Center on the Cherry Hill campus has a donation drop-off location at the first floor enrollment desk.
The official ribbon cutting for the Marketplace will be at noon Nov. 14 in the food pantry’s Blackwood location.