June 26, 2019 | 82° F

Rutgers food-raiser encourages charitable donations with video game truck

Photo by Pixabay |

Students who donated nonperishable food items to the Rutgers Student Food Pantry were given access to a truck loaded with Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch consoles for some needed game play.

Fans of Smash, the game commonly known as Super Smash Bros., and others like it, met members of Rutgers Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships for the "No Hunger Games" — a food-raising effort in New Brunswick. 

Students who donated any amount of food to the Rutgers Student Food Pantry gained access to a truck equipped with a number of different video game consoles. The event took place outside of the organization's building at 39 Union St. off of College Avenue. 

Philip Chambers, the associate director of Rutgers Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships, said the event was a way to encourage charity in students while having fun.

He said that one of their goals is “getting students to realize they can blur the line between service and fun, while being productive at the same time.”

Games like Dragon Ball FighterZ, Super Smash Bros. and Call of Duty were all available in the truck for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. 

Some students attended the event and played video games, others simply stopped by and dropped off donations for the pantry.

Chambers said that the event was held in the gaming truck because it was difficult to gain an on-campus venue which would be practical for off-campus students. The event was focused on raising awareness about food insecurity and giving people the opportunity to get more involved. 

Students that live off campus are still in the Rutgers bubble and forget that they are also a member of another community outside of Rutgers, he said. The organization encourages students to acknowledge the needs of others, especially those who have less access to food. 

Off-campus living is, “more than going to class and going home, it is interacting with business owners, interacting with your neighbors and your community,” Chambers said.

This is the first of what the organization has planed to make a recurring, semesterly event, said Rahul Pant, a good neighbor liaison with Rutgers Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships. The event was organized by the department with help from the Good Neighbor Program, a marketing team for the University Division of Student Affairs. 

“Food insecurity is a problem that we’re trying to solve within the Rutgers community,” Pant said.

Good neighbor liaisons are off-campus students who work on distributing information and performing outreach for off-campus residents, he said. 

Pant said the pantry has been helpful for several students he knows, students who otherwise may not have been able to afford food or may not have been able to eat one or two meals a day. 

The partnership hosts many events throughout the year focused on students and charity. It will host "Project Night Night" in late February, where the organization will collect blankets, books and stuffed animals, package them in bags and send them to children in homeless shelters, according to the off-campus website.

It also runs various service days and a semester of service programs, according to the site.

Chambers said this event is important to students because of the sense of morality and service that it brings to the community. It also can help a student grow as a person outside of classes.

“We are really getting at the heart of not only being a successful student or successful citizen, but a productive and holistic human,” he said.

Anthony Ventriglia

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