EWING — A new food pantry at Campus Town, the housing and retail complex at The College of New Jersey, has been open for a week and its organizers are pleased with how its first couple of days have gone.

"They've been awesome," Beth Gallus, TCNJ associate dean of students, said. "We're really excited. We've been able to serve a handful of students already, without really any marketing that's been done yet."

Called The Shop @TCNJ, the food pantry is an idea three years in the making. Gallus' predecessor was responsible for much of the initial research into food insecurity on college campuses, and Gallus said such a problem eventually presented itself at TCNJ, with students requesting certain items.

Those things, whether they are food, drink, convenience items, or even limited quantities of clothing, are now available twice a week in the Campus Police substation in Campus Town: Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and Wednesdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m., for the rest of the spring semester.

Additional appointments can be made if those days and times are not convenient.

Once an available space was identified, the pantry was able to open "within weeks," according to Gallus.

"The location is absolutely phenomenal, that it's easy to get in and easy to get out, but then also just in terms of access, whether it be someone from the community who needs assistance, or some of our students," she said.

TCNJ is a partner with the Mercer Street Food Bank, which supplied some of the food to start, along with a campus-wide food drive. But Gallus said as word has begun to spread, many others have donated to help The Shop get up and running.

Patrick Lavery is Senior Producer of Morning News and Special Programming for New Jersey 101.5, and is lead reporter and substitute anchor for "New Jersey's First News." Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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