We Care Program publicizes resources at open house

The Civic and Community Engagement Center’s (CCEC) We Care Program held its first open house of the year on Nov. 16, showcasing its resources for students in need. Dylan Heffernan, the assistant director for the We Care Program and Community Service, led the presentation alongside social work interns.

The We Care Program provides resources for students who face food insecurities, need additional funding resources and face homelessness. This program started in 2016 and grew out of a Student Government Association initiative when a college student went through a difficult time and needed assistance. Ever since then, the program has expanded to include a food pantry, clothing closet, laptop upcycle and student relief fund.

Any student, staff, faculty or administrator can receive food and canned goods for free from the food pantry in ASB-130. This food pantry can benefit any student or faculty who is having food insecurities at home. Even if students are not having food insecurities, they are more than welcome to visit it. The pantry is open from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. In addition to the food pantry, students facing food insecurity can apply for state aid with NJ Snap.

The Ramapo Clothing Closet is a new addition to the We Care Program that lets students use professional clothing for any professional occasion. Students can simply email wecare@ramapo.edu to set up an appointment. This easy process can help students save money on clothes for important interviews or internships.

Wearing the right clothes for important events is the best way to make a good first impression and with the clothing closet, students have the opportunity to do just that at no cost. At the open house, students and faculty were able to tour the grand opening of the clothing closet and see the different available clothing options.

Students in financial need can apply for the Student Relief Fund through the We Care Program. This fund allows students to obtain a one-time grant of up to $300. This grant can be used for anything from food to a car tire that broke down on the way to school. Students applying must be enrolled in Ramapo and of good judicial standing. The application is then reviewed, and grants are awarded to the students that need them.

The Laptop Upcycle @ Ramapo is a new partnership between HackNCraftNJ based in Montclair to provide laptops for students in need. These days, technology is quickly growing in higher education, especially since the pandemic. However, many students cannot afford a new laptop, as it may be costly. With this initiative, Ramapo can give students refurbished laptops they need for school free of charge. Ramapo is committed to providing, through reusing and refurbishing, long-term and sustainable technology access to Ramapo students that will help them reach their goal of obtaining a college degree with ease.

These efforts by the We Care Program display Ramapo’s dedication to helping students who are struggling outside of school and the CCEC staff show their passion for this program by maintaining its presence and continuing their work, even through the struggles of the pandemic.

The CCEC accepts donations of laptops, clothes and canned goods that will benefit their services. Any students and faculty going through difficult times in their life can utilize the We Care Program to access resources that can help them alleviate their struggles.



Photo courtesy of Liza Summer, Pexels