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By Sarah M. Bond
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Students are finding help to manage their expenses and practice thriftiness at Camden County College.

Shelves hold dry goods in The Marketplace. By Sarah M. Bond, CCC Journalism Program

Managing money and food insecurity are among the worries for some college students. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, “In 2017, the federal government spent over $122 billion in grants, loans and work-study funds through federal student aid programs to help make college accessible to students.” These resources often don’t cover a student’s basic needs, such as food and transportation. Camden County College provides several ways to help alleviate these concerns.

Designed to help CCC students counter food insecurity, The Marketplace is a campus food pantry that was started in the fall semester of 2018. Judith Peak, coordinator of The Marketplace, said the food pantry serves an important purpose. “Students have expenses with books and tuition and a lot of times they’ll let the food go by the wayside. It’s needed. I mean, how can you really study and reach your fullest potential if you’re hungry? That was the whole thought behind opening this.”

Rhonda Montemore, 42, a CCC student, has been working at The Marketplace since the fall semester of 2019. “I think a lot of students don’t know that we exist, that the pantry is there. I think when they see advertisements for The Marketplace, they assume it’s somewhere to buy, to purchase or to spend money.”

Both the Blackwood and Camden campuses have a pantry that offers free food, toiletries, feminine products and office supplies. Only the Camden campus location offers clothing. Requirements for using The Marketplace include being a current student, filling out an application, showing a class schedule and signing in for every visit. Shopping is limited to every 30 days.

The Blackwood campus pantry is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday in Room 200 in the Community Center. The Camden campus pantry is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in Room 405B in College Hall.

CCC also partners with NJ Transit through its University Partnership Program to help lighten the burden of commuting to and from the school. Full-time students get a 25 percent discount on monthly passes that can be used on bus, rail or light rail.

Musique Hodges, 19, a first-year CCC student, uses this opportunity. “When I first started, I didn’t know about it and having to pay phone bills and figure out how to get back and forth to school, it became a struggle at times.”

Since using the student pass, Hodges has been able to save money. “I can take the bus back to school and home without having to take cash out and spending two and three dollars every time, so I’m technically saving money.”

Registration for a student pass can be done on the CCC website or on the NJ Transit website. MyTix Student Pass is the mobile app option that allows students to download the app on a smartphone to purchase tickets or monthly passes.

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