Rutgers Against Hunger (RAH) has successfully concluded the 10th year of their Adopt-A-Family initiative. Through the generosity of approximately 180 Rutgers New Brunswick faculty and staff “adopting” families for the holidays, a total of 279 families in the greater New Brunswick area were sponsored this year. In Newark, approximately 62 families were adopted by sponsors from Rutgers University’s Newark Campus and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS).
Adopt-A-Family began in 2009 as a way for Rutgers departments and individuals to support local families living near the New Brunswick and Newark campuses. Many families in New Jersey struggle with food insecurity and hunger, and often need extra assistance. Adopt-A-Family aims to provide families with basic necessities plus additional donations to end their year on a cheerful note. The program has grown exponentially since it started 10 years ago; to date, RAH has established partnerships with 15 social services agencies in the greater New Brunswick area and 3 social services agencies in the Newark Area who refer them to families with the highest need.
Preparing for Adopt-A-Family begins early in the fall when participating agencies provide RAH with information about the families in need. Members of the University community who want to help are matched with a family whom they “adopt” by providing non-perishable foods, toiletries, clothing, toys, and other gifts. RAH also graciously accepts monetary and gift card donations from faculty and staff who are not matched with a family but still want to support the program. These donations, along with a portion of the toys collected during Rutgers University’s annual Big Chill 5K race, are distributed to families who have experienced exceptional hardship or loss during the year.
RAH partners with University Facilities every December to pick up the donations from University sponsors for delivery to the agencies, who are often overwhelmed by the number of generous donations that they receive for their families. This year, Rutgers Against Hunger was able to provide food, clothing, toys, and other gifts to families from 15 agencies near the New Brunswick campus, including: The Price Family Fellows Program, Roosevelt School, the Greater Brunswick Charter School, Lord Stirling Community School, McKinley Community School, Paul Robeson Community School, The Center for Great Expectations Permanent Supportive Housing Program, Adult and Adolescent Programs, and Roots to Recovery Outpatient Program, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, Coordinated Family Care, The Tiny Tots Spot, Multicultural Community Services, the Five Loaves Food Pantry, and Dr. Debra Wengert’s office.
Rutgers Against Hunger was also able to provide donations to three agencies near the Newark campus, including: Marion P. Thomas Charter Select Academy, YMCA of Newark and Vicinity, and 13th Street Avenue School.
The Adopt-A-Family initiative could not be possible without the dedicated efforts of University Facilities team members or the sponsors who assist their adopted families and brighten their holiday season. The generosity of University faculty, staff, and alumni continues to bring Rutgers together as a community every year.
If you are interested in supporting or getting involved with Rutgers Against Hunger, please visit rah.rutgers.edu or email firstname.lastname@example.org.