by Camila Paladini
This holiday season, Rachel Sloma, a coordinator for the BCC Food Pantry discussed the effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the pantry.
Q. Can you please explain the services that you provide in the pantry for anyone that doesn’t know?
- The Center for Food Action and Bergen have teamed up to provide students, faculty and staff with food, utility, rental, assistance and other services. Located in room C-111A in the Pitkin Education Center, students should make an appointment with The Bergen Cares Center Coordinator Rachel Sloma by calling (201) 447-7191 or the Center for Health, Wellness and Personal Counseling at (201) 447-9257 to schedule an appointment. The Center for Health, Wellness and Personal Counseling is located in room HS-100 at the main campus. Students may visit cfanj.org and click “Get Assistance” to schedule an appointment.
Q. Do you do outreach to the communities or is it strictly BCC students and families
- The Services we provide at the Bergen Cares Center are for students, staff and faculty. Any individual that has a valid Bergen ID is allowed to use the services of the Bergen Cares Center.
Q. How has the pandemic affected the food pantry and its ability to help the community? A. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge spike in the homlessness and food insecurity issues within the Bergen Community. More students, staff and faculty are silently struggling yet aren’t aware of our services on the Bergen Campus . We have been working to extend hours, and become a one stop for our Bergen Community to ensure those are receiving the help they need.
Q. Has there been an increase in donation this year as opposed to 2020?
- Ever since we opened in September we’ve received countless donations from drives with student life, SGA, and PTK Honors Society. We have seen more and more people offer their support more recently, We continue to host donation drives, and receive multiple boxes of food each week. We want to thank all of those that contribute to the Bergen Cares Center Pantry.
Q. What can BCC students do to help out/raise awareness?
- Tell your friends and family! The more our students, staff, and faculty spread the word the more help we can offer to our Community. We ask that you take a small portion out of your day to post on your social media, mention the Pantry in your classes or to classmates/professors. Students could look out for donation drives and spread the word about our upcoming events