In New Jersey, 1 in 3 college students doesn’t have enough to eat and may face barriers to long-term success. The Community FoodBank of New Jersey works with more than a dozen campus pantries throughout the state that collectively provide for nearly 2,300 students per month.
Al-Samir is one such student, a high achiever who gets the job done with the help of his college’s food pantry.
“Even though I work, I still have financial issues, so having the pantry here is helpful, where I can actually find something to make a meal for a week or for the day or just a snack before class,” he said.
On top of his full–time overnight job as a security guard, Al-Samir studies business management full–time and serves as president of his school’s Student Government Association. Every day in between work and class, he listens to other students’ thoughts and ideas and creates programs to keep them engaged in the campus community.
He lives with his mother, a single parent who also appreciates the pantry’s services.
“She always reminds me: ‘You should stop at the pantry today,’” Al-Samir told us. He picks up items like mashed potatoes and canned vegetables to share at home with his mom, also citing graham crackers as his favorite snack to have in between classes.
Nutritious food from the campus pantry helps to propel him towards his goal of someday starting a business. Al-Samir hopes that other students in need will utilize the pantry’s services to keep them healthy as they work towards their own objectives.
“Just come and stop by. Don’t be afraid to shop and take advantage of it,” he said.