For three years, Brookdale’s Helping Hands has assisted students in need with grab-and-go snacks around campus, non-perishable items and gift cards. Through campus volunteers, community organizations and local business, Helping Hands has made a difference.

With the formal dedication and opening of a new permanent location on campus in MAN 214 on September 17, Helping Hands will be able to extend its reach. Members of the Brookdale community are invited to stop by the Helping Hands Lounge on Tuesday, September 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to see the new location. Visitors may also donate non-perishable food items.

“Our Helping Hands Lounge will be a central place for students to come, pick up food, get referrals for other services offered by Brookdale and Monmouth County or to just talk,” said Synde Kaufman, ESL administrator and chair of the Helping Hands initiative.

According to one recent survey, more than 1 in 3 college students reported being food insecure that figure rose to 42 percent among community college students. Hunger is a widespread problem regardless of zip code. Fulfill (formerly, The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties) estimates that more than 21,000 children and one in 10 individuals do not have enough to eat every day.

Kaufman explained that the permanent location on campus allows for the storage of more items. The Helping Hands Lounge will stock healthy snacks such as granola and breakfast bars, canned products and other nonperishable food items. Students can pick up microwaveable meals to take home. Toiletries and basic school supplies will also be available.

Additionally, Fulfill’s Mobile Pantry will be at the Lincroft campus on September 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The pantry distributes non-perishable food, fresh produce and baked goods. The Mobile Pantry will be at the Lincroft campus every third Tuesday of the month.

The expansion of the Helping Hands initiatives and permanent location is made possible in part through New Jersey’s Community College Opportunity Grant program.