Berkeley College Foundation News

Berkeley College Foundation launches food pantry in Newark to help students succeed

Berkeley College Foundation and helpers at Food Pantry

The Berkeley College Foundation launched its newest resource to help students succeed with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 8, 2019. A food pantry, located at Berkeley College’s Newark campus on Broad Street, was made possible through a $10,000 donation from the Foundation.

“There are many factors that contribute to success,” said Kevin L. Luing, Chairman, Berkeley College Board of Trustees, who spoke about his 15-year relationship with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “Now we can help with basic needs, and offer another resource to help our students be successful.”

The Center for Food Action estimates that one-third of undergraduate college students nationwide face food insecurity. According to a study by Feeding America, Essex County has the highest rate of food insecurity in New Jersey. Berkeley College is one of 20 colleges offering food pantries on campus in the Garden State.

“Our students are working hard in the classroom, at their internships, and at their jobs, but hunger can make it hard to focus, and hard to be successful,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College. “Students go to college to build better lives for themselves and their families. They should not have to choose between going to school and eating a healthy meal.”

The mission of the Berkeley College Foundation is to provide financial support for student success, including through scholarships and educational enrichment.

“The Berkeley College Foundation recognizes both the basic and complex challenges that students face every day as they pursue their dreams,” said Dario A. Cortes, PhD, Executive Director, Berkeley College Foundation. “It is our hope that through this food pantry, we can remove some of these barriers to success, so our future leaders can reach their full potential.”

Michelle Jansen, Director of Schools and Community Outreach at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, voiced her support of the Foundation’s efforts.

“We know that students across the state struggle with the hard decision of paying for tuition, paying for books, paying for housing, and paying for food,” Ms. Jansen said. “It is a decision no one should have to make. With the creation of this food pantry, we know hunger has no place on this Berkeley College campus.”

Photo of Michelle Jansen and Dario A. Cortes

Photo caption:(Left) Michelle Jansen, Director of Schools and Community Outreach, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, shares her support of the Foundation’s efforts to reduce hunger on campus. (Right) Dario A. Cortes, PhD, Executive Director, Berkeley College Foundation, discusses how the Foundation’s $10,000 donation will eliminate barriers to student success.

Erica Xicara of Linden, NJ, Vice President of the Student Government Association at Berkeley College in Newark, will complete her Associate’s degree in Health Sciences this year. The wife and mother of two shared her personal challenges in balancing her education with the basic needs of her family.

“The real struggles are the ones we face outside of school,” said Ms. Xicara, adding that she and her husband made significant career adjustments so she could pursue her degree.

“The food pantry will ease the burden of students who struggle to feed their families because they have made the choice to better their lives.”

The food pantry offers more than 30 items such as pasta, tuna fish, granola bars and soy milk. The resource will be open three days a week to Berkeley College students from all campuses.

See the Photos: Click here to view photos from the food pantry ribbon-cutting ceremony at Berkeley College in Newark.

Photos of Erica Xicara

Photo caption: (Above left) Berkeley College student Erica Xicara of Linden, NJ, shares her story of food insecurity during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a food pantry at Berkeley College in Newark. (Above right) Leaders from Berkeley College, the Berkeley College Foundation, and the Newark community officially open a food pantry, located at the College’s Newark campus on Broad Street. The food pantry will be open three days a week, to Berkeley College students from all campuses.

In Their Words – Remarks from the Ceremony

Kevin Luing

"There are many factors that contribute to success. Now we can help with basic needs, and offer another resource to help our students be successful."
– Kevin L. Luing, Chairman, Berkeley College Board of Trustees

Michael Smith

"Our students are working hard in the classroom, at their internships, and at their jobs, but hunger can make it hard to focus, and hard to be successful. Students go to college to build better lives for themselves and their families. They should not have to choose between going to school and eating a healthy meal."
– Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College

Dario Cortes

"The Berkeley College Foundation recognizes both the basic and complex challenges that students face every day as they pursue their dreams. It is our hope that through this food pantry, we can remove some of these barriers to success, so our future leaders can reach their full potential."
– Dario A. Cortes, PhD, Executive Director, Berkeley College Foundation.

Erica Xicara

"The real struggles are the ones we face outside of school. The food pantry will ease the burden of students who struggle to feed their families because they have made the choice to better their lives."
– Erica Xicara, Berkeley College student

Michelle Jansen

"We know that students across the state struggle with the hard decision of paying for tuition, paying for books, paying for housing, and paying for food. It is a decision no one should have to make. With the creation of this food pantry, we know hunger has no place on this Berkeley College campus."
– Michelle Jansen, Director of Schools and Community Outreach, Community FoodBank of New Jersey

Marsha Pollard

"Berkeley College is committed to its students and to the communities it serves. We are serving our students in a holistic way and giving them what they need to graduate and become global citizens."
– Marsha Pollard, PhD, Provost

Dallas Reed

"This is a special moment in the history of Berkeley College. Food insecurity plagues students across the nation, from the ivy leagues to the community colleges, and all of the colleges in between. This is a small effort to provide support to our students as they pursue their dreams."
– Dallas Reed, PhD, Berkeley College Vice President, Student Development and Campus Life

Earl Brown

"There is a nationwide focus on college admissions, but no one is asking how institutions support students once they are on campus. Berkeley College is answering those questions. We have programs to bring you here, but we also have the resources that allow you to be a successful college student once you are here."
– Earl Brown, Campus Operating Officer, Berkeley College in Newark

Berkeley College Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.