Rowan groups serve those in need

Rowan groups serve those in need

By DANIELE CRUZ, Staff Writer

BELLMAWR -- Students in various service organizations from Rowan University gathered today at the AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey to pack and deliver hundreds of holiday food baskets for local families in need.

The non-profit agency helps countless families within Gloucester, Camden, Burlington and
Salem counties that are affected by or infected with HIV or AIDS.

''This is just a good cause,'' said Matt Lamont, treasurer of the Golden Key club at Rowan. ''We wanted to do some kind of project that is meaningful.''

Delivering food is one of the many services they provide on a regular basis under the Positively Nutritious program and the holiday baskets are delivered three times each year. This is the first time Rowan's Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism and the student chapter of the Association of Work Site Health Promotion assisted the Coalition in this effort.

''We all want to get involved to do as many things as possible,'' said Rod Arias a senior at Rowan and the treasurer for the Society of Advanced Managers. ''We like to be able to see what we're doing.''

For most of Saturday morning the students helped sort and fill the baskets with holiday trimmings. Afterwards the students loaded the baskets and bags into cars and trucks to be delivered to the families' front doors.

''Anyone in need we try to accommodate,'' said Volunteer Director Ed Chacon. ''We don't
let anyone go without.''

The Coalition's Positively Nutritious program delivers hot meals and groceries year round. The agency also has thrift stores, programs that help people find jobs, transportation for those in need and countless other support services. The agency is funded through donations and various grants and its volunteer group is hundreds-strong.

''It's just a way to help,'' said Warren Poole, the resource center assistant. The Williamstown resident has been employed with the agency for about a year but has been volunteering there for nearly five years.

''This year we've had more and more communication with Rowan so we're really excited,'' Chacon said. ''(Gloucester County's) HIV positive and AIDS population is growing so Rowan is a good connection for us to get in there.''

Anyone interested in adopting a family to send future holiday baskets or volunteering in another capacity may call (856) 933-9500 or visit the agency at

-- Daniele Cruz can be reached by e-mail at

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Date Published: Sunday, November 18, 2001 (All day)