NEWARK, Ohio, Feb. 21, 2018 — Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and The Ohio State University at Newark are helping students fill their minds and their stomachs. The co-located institutions launched a food pantry in October to address the need for food security on campus. The pantry, discreetly called Campus Corner, has been an overwhelming success in its initial months of service.
"We were hearing that some of our students did not have access to enough food, but it wasn't until we distributed a survey last spring called the "We Care" survey that we asked students to share information about their food, housing and transportation needs," said Justin Khol, assistant director of student life for COTC and Ohio State Newark. "An overwhelming number of students responded and shared that 44% of them worry about how they will buy groceries or that they have skipped meals due to lack of money. In addition, more than half of those students experience this struggle on a weekly basis."
Campus Corner is a partnership between the Office of Retention at Ohio State Newark and the Office of Student Life in conjunction with the Food Pantry Network of Licking County. It is operated like all other member pantries of the Food Pantry Network but with the additional requirement that patrons must be a student at either COTC or Ohio State Newark.
Nearly 60 students have utilized Campus Corner to date. More than half of them first visited in the food pantry's first month of operation, and many are repeat users. The students nearly equally represent COTC and Ohio State Newark and are split between individuals and families.
How You Can Help
March 1-31: Bring personal care and nonperishable food items to campus during Operation Feed. Collection boxes will be in each campus building all month long.
March 6: Attend the student vs. staff charity basketball game at 6:30 p.m. in Adena Hall. Bring $1 or a canned food for entry.
Year-round: Drop off personal care and nonperishable food items in the Office of Student Life in the Warner Center, suite 226.
The Campus Corner provides students with emergency food assistance," said Jamie White, Ohio State Newark retention coordinator. "Students are able to visit the campus food pantry up to 15 times per academic year. If they need more frequent assistance we can connect them to the food pantry, fresh produce market or other resources within their local community to help them get the support they need."
The pantry is stocked by the Food Pantry Network and through individual donations made on campus. Park National Bank and various offices on campus have also held food drives to benefit Campus Corner, said Khol.
COTC and Ohio State Newark have been long-time supporters of the Food Pantry Network's Operation Feed. This year, all items collected on the campus will fill the shelves at Campus Corner. Collection boxes will be in all campus buildings during the month of March. Monetary donations are also accepted in the Office of Fees and Deposits in Hopewell Hall. These funds will be given to the Food Pantry Network, which is able to purchase food at a significantly lower cost.
Personal care items are in high demand. This includes deodorant, personal hygiene products, toothbrushes and toothpaste, detergent and baby wipes. Food items of the greatest need include canned meats, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, and ready meals (e.g., Stove Top, Hamburger Helper, etc.).
In addition to the Operation Feed food drive, COTC and Ohio State Newark will hold the second annual students vs. staff charity basketball game on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. in Adena Hall. This event is open to the public. A donation of $1 or a canned food item is requested for entry. Proceeds will benefit Operation Feed and Campus Corner.
Any time of the year, members of the campus and community can make donations of personal care items and nonperishable food in the Office of Student Life in the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center, suite 226, during normal business hours.
Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio. At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that's challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State's more than 200 majors.