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Faculty and Staff Give Back during Holiday Season

December 21, 2015
Picture of staff with toys

Gary Golden, Monique Whittle, Melinda Aviles, Jean Madden, and Vibiana Cvetkovic with toys that were donated to the Camden Rescue Mission.

Picture of food

Collections of food and other household products were organized to support local families as part of Rutgers Against Hunger’s Adopt-A-Family initiative.

For the Libraries’ faculty and staff at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Rutgers University–Camden, the spirit of giving extends beyond family, friends, and colleagues during the holidays.

As part of Rutgers Against Hunger’s Adopt-A-Family initiative, employees in Access Services, Central Administration, Special Collections and University Archives, and Technical and Automated Services at Rutgers–New Brunswick “adopted” several local families, a senior citizen, and a Rutgers undergraduate student.  The sponsoring departments organized collections of food, clothing, toiletries, and other items according to wish lists that were provided by the adoptees.

The collections supported a number of New Jersey social service agencies:  Five Loaves Food Pantry, a ministry of the Second Reformed Church that provides free supplemental foods for economically challenged families in the New Brunswick area; the Intensive Outpatient Treatment Project, which offers mental health and addiction treatment and support services for pregnant and post-partum women in New Jersey; Roosevelt School, the largest elementary school in New Brunswick, serving low-income and newly-arrived immigrant families; and Transitions for Youth, a program of the Rutgers School of Social Work that addresses the needs of young people transitioning out of New Jersey’s foster care system into adulthood.

Jeff Teichmann, library supervisor for the Archibald S. Alexander Library, said that his participation in the Adopt-A-Family initiative and similar charitable campaigns over the years has been a repeatedly eye-opening experience.  “The families request as gifts items that many of us take for granted as household staples,” Teichmann said.  “It really impresses upon you the importance of the work that these organizations are doing—and how they need our support not only during the holidays, but all year round.”

At Rutgers–Camden’s Paul Robeson Library, collections of toys for local children have been organized during the holiday season for over a decade.  The toys are donated to the Camden Rescue Mission, an organization providing emergency food, clothing, furniture, and other services to underprivileged individuals and families in Camden and neighboring communities.  The toys are given to children by Santa during the Rescue Mission’s annual Christmas party.

John Gibson, instructional technology specialist for the Robeson Library, is a primary organizer of the collection efforts each year.  “When I was a young child living in Camden, the Rescue Mission gave me toys a couple of years when I had nothing,” said Gibson.  “It means a lot to support an organization that makes a lasting impact on children’s lives.”