Rowan-Glassboro Neighbors Table: New program brings food to borough residents

Rowan-Glassboro Neighbors Table: New program brings food to borough residents

Rowan, Gourmet Dining, Borough of Glassboro to assist residents facing food insecurity

A new partnership between Rowan University, Gourmet Dining and the Borough of Glassboro will assist local residents facing food insecurity this fall.

Rowan-Glassboro Neighbors Table: Partners Sharing Food to Build Community, a program spearheaded by Rowan President Ali A. Houshmand, will bring food — prepared by Gourmet Dining and delivered by Rowan students — to families in need.  

“No one in our community should ever go hungry,” Houshmand says. “One of the most important things we can do as University neighbors and proud citizens is assisting others through our talents and our service. I’m excited to see this program serve our neighbors and friends and I know our students will benefit tremendously through their involvement.”  

Through the program, which launches on Friday, Nov. 13, Gourmet Dining, the University’s food service provider, will prepare up to 200 meals each week, consisting of either sandwiches from Jersey Mike’s or packaged dinners from York Street Market. Both Jersey Mike’s and York Street Market are food providers to Gourmet Dining and joined the initiative at Gourmet Dining’s invitation.  

All of the meals will be funded by private monetary donations secured by Rowan. 

“Hunger existed in Glassboro long before the pandemic hit and now more of our neighbors are struggling to put food on the table today,” said borough Mayor John E. Wallace III. “That means this new partnership—Rowan-Glassboro Neighbors Table—is more important than ever. The borough takes a large role in the fight against hunger and every action helps.” 

Gathering at the table

The borough will help promote the initiative through its website, social media pages and network of philanthropic organizations. Gourmet Dining chefs will help by preparing and organizing the meals from Jersey Mike’s Subs and York Street Market. Rowan students and employees will deliver meals to those in need, with everyone following strict COVID-19 guidelines and protocols for the food preparation and delivery.  

Borough residents in need of food assistance must sign up for a meal on Glassboro’s family resources website. Registration is confidential and required each week. The deadline to register for a Friday home delivery or campus pick-up is at 6 p.m. every Wednesday. Participants may choose to pick up meals from Rowan University Parking Lot C from 4 to 4:30 p.m. each Friday (entrance at 645 Carpenter St., Glassboro, NJ 08028).  

The first two weeks—Nov. 13 and 20—will include either regular or vegetarian subs from Jersey Mike’s. York Street Market’s packaged meals, which will feed a family of four, will be offered Nov. 27 and Dec. 4, 11 and 18.  

“Our involvement in Rowan-Glassboro Neighbors Table continues our longstanding commitment to making sure our borough neighbors have nutritious food to eat,” says George Kuzma, vice president of business development for Gourmet Dining. “We’re in the business of feeding others and we absolutely believe in the power of food to bring people and communities together.”  

A history of giving

Through a variety of initiatives, Rowan students and Gourmet Dining have worked for years to combat food insecurity.  

As one example, through the Food Recovery Network, a national student initiative, food from Rowan’s dining halls is donated each Wednesday and Friday to four different shelters serving children, adults and families in Glassboro and Wenonah. Gourmet Dining staffers pack up the food and student volunteers deliver it. This semester alone, nearly 2,000 pounds of perishable food have been donated. The program is organized and driven by students who help ensure its success.  

Additionally, Rowan students and staff join community volunteers each week at Fresh for All, a program led by Philabundance that provides free fresh fruits and vegetables. The program, which operates every Friday from 10-11 a.m. in Parking Lot D at the corner of Bowe Boulevard and Carpenter Street, is serving up to 185 households each week this fall.  

All community members, including Rowan students, may use Fresh for All. The market is a partnership that includes The SHOP (the University’s food pantry), the Student Government Association and the Office of Volunteerism, Community Engagement & Commuter Services.  

The Office of Volunteerism, Community Engagement & Commuter Services also leads “Adopt a Family,” a drive that provides full Thanksgiving food baskets, plus gift cards, to up to 180 families each year. Baskets, the contents of which are donated by Rowan community members, are distributed to local families through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Gloucester County, the New Jersey State Department of Children and Families, and Volunteers of America.  

According to Andrew Perrone of the Office of Volunteerism, Community Engagement and Commuter Services, the Rowan community's generosity is consistent. This year, he also expects to assist Rowan families in need through The SHOP.  

Rowan students are eager to embrace opportunities to assist others, according to Kevin Koett, vice president for Student Life/Dean of Students.  

“Our students are ready to go and looking forward to this,” Koett says. “When it comes to assisting the community, they always step up and show the warmth of the campus family.”