Union County Board of County Commissioners Support UCNJ Student Food Insecurity Programs

Cranford, NJ – UCNJ Union College of Union County, NJ has introduced various initiatives to proactively address a critical student success and equity issue: food insecurity. With the ever-growing cost of food, more students are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal will from come from. Recognizing this challenge, the Union County Board of County Commissioners, under the leadership of Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded, have generously provided $250,000 in support of the College’s food insecurity programs. While the County Commissioners have been incredibly benevolent as it pertains to the annual capital and operating aid that they provide to UCNJ, this specific allocation is indicative of their acknowledgment of the needs of their residents related to food insecurity.

The College has introduced several initiatives to help combat this matter of increasing concern. UCNJ created a food pantry, named Hoot’s Market, which provides bags of non-perishable food and hygiene items to students. Current students can also get a hot meal from the College’s cafeteria while on campus using grub passes. Through the Office of Social Work Services, UCNJ hosts farmers’ markets on the campuses. This gives students the opportunity to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables, which are food items not available through the Hoot’s Market.

“While we pride ourselves on providing an excellent education, we acknowledge the difficulty in learning when students are hungry. No student should have to choose between pursuing their education and having a meal. UCNJ is intensifying efforts to support our students through expanded meal programs with the aid from our key partners, the Union County Board of County Commissioners. Through their generosity and steadfast support, we are continuing to build a community where students can flourish,” stated UCNJ President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

UCNJ is a public, comprehensive community college that provides quality, affordable, accessible educational programs to the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 18 two-year colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College offers a wide variety of academic and extracurricular activities. UCNJ provides many experiential learning opportunities such as access to a Bloomberg Business Center, Innovation Center, and Student Research Hub. Additionally, students at UCNJ attend one of the top 25 community colleges in the country for 2023 as designated by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. To learn more, visit www.ucc.edu.

From left: Vice President of Student Development Dr. Demond Hargrove, Dean of Students Dr. Charnette Hockaday, Coordinator of Social Work Services Tiffany Douglas, Executive Director of the Foundation Douglas Rouse, Union County Commissioner Vice Chairwoman Lourdes M. Leon, President McMenamin, Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded, Commissioner Sergio Granados, Commissioner Rebecca L. Williams, Deputy County Manager Amy Wagner, Asst. Dean of Students Bea Rodriguez, and UCNJ students with a $250,000 check from the Union County Board of County Commissioners for the UCNJ food insecurity initiative.