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Helping Hands

February 23, 2018

Students Open “Helping Hands Food Pantry” to Help Fellow Students

National surveys at two-year and four-year colleges and universities across the U.S. have discovered that a large population of students are going hungry. “Food insecurity” is a growing trend across the board; however, Ocean County College students have stepped forward to help stem the tide.

Since February 12, 2018, Helping Hands, Ocean County College’s first food pantry, has been assisting currently enrolled OCC students in need. “Food insecure” students at the two-year community college need only stop by the Jon and Judith Larson Student Center on the College’s Main Campus in Toms River. On Mondays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., hungry students can stop by, show their current valid OCC student ID, and pick up non‐perishable food and drink items.

According to Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life at Ocean County College, “This pantry was created to assist college students as they battle with something very extreme, food insecurity. For many years now, Ocean County College has wanted to have a food pantry for its students in need. Another meal program was established in 2012, Pay It Forward, to help our students. However, we knew the campus needed more. The Tau Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (national honor society) partnered with the Student Life Office to finally make this dream a reality.”

While most donations to the Helping Hands Food Pantry are from on campus constituents including students, faculty, and staff, the public is encouraged to get involved by donating specific food items. In addition, monetary donations in the form of checks are accepted. Checks should be made payable to “Ocean County College” with “Helping Hands” in the memo, and mailed to the Office of Student Life, Ocean County College, P.O. Box 2001, Toms River, NJ.

The Helping Hands Food Pantry at Ocean County College is in need of non‐perishable food items. Single serve, individually packaged, and pull-tab openings are most desirable. Helping Hands is in need of items that students can eat between classes or quickly microwaved. Some items include: Cheese or Peanut Butter Crackers, Beef Jerky; Instant Macaroni and Cheese; Applesauce, Pudding, and Fruit Cups; Cereal, Granola, and Power Bars; Chef-Boy-R-Dee, Spaghettio’s, and Canned Vegetables and Fruit; Boxed Drinks along with Fruit and Tomato Juices; Packaged Nuts, Trail Mix, Fruit Snacks, and Dried Fruits; and Chips, Pretzels, Cookies, and Goldfish.

Aiza Nageeb, President of the Tau Iota Chapter of PTK at Ocean County College, said, “Tau Iota’s executive board has worked vigorously the past few months fundraising, communicating with local food pantries, stocking food, and much more. Thanks to the support of Student Life, Tau Iota is one step closer to accomplishing our goals: making a difference in the lives of our peers, every day. This project has made an impact on many of the board members as we worked day and night to make this happen. However, receiving emails from students expressing their gratitude makes it all worth it.”

For more information on where to donate non-perishable food items or how your monetary donation can help, contact Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life at Ocean County College, at 732-255-0400, ext. 2138, or