How We Are Helping #StopTheSpread
Community service and civic engagement are integral to Stockton’s mission. Stockton faculty, staff, students and alumni have taken that mission to heart, reaching out to help others as we all battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following are some of their stories. Their efforts make all of us at Stockton proud and show that when the going gets tough, Ospreys soar.
Have a story to share? We want to hear it! If you, or someone you know in the Stockton community, is doing something to help, let us know by emailing Diane D’Amico at firstname.lastname@example.org or sharing on social media and tagging @stockton_edu or #stocktonu. Don’t forget to include a photo!
Stockton Dining Provides Food for Salvation Army, A.C. Rescue Mission
Chartwells Higher Education at Stockton University recently received 170 cases of Rich’s Food Products to distribute to the community.
On May 13, Stockton University Dining in partnership with the American Culinary Federation / Professional Chefs Association of South Jersey, distributed 75 of the cases to the Salvation Army and Atlantic City Rescue Mission to be prepared and provided to out of work area residents. The remaining cases will be distributed later this month. Products included pizza dough, cookies, whole grain bread dough, whipped topping and biscuit dough.
AtlantiCare Food Drive at Stockton A.C. Campus
The Stockton Atlantic City campus hosted an AtlantiCare sponsored food drive for over 250 of their employees affected by COVID19. The food drive was held on Friday, May 8, in the Scarpa Academic Center parking lot. Families received bags of non-perishable foods to cover several meals. In addition, Bally’s, Caesars and Parker Interior Plantscape donated flats of flowers to those affected.
Hammonton Enlists Stockton's Birchler for Task Force
Christina Birchler, director of the Hammonton instruction site, was tapped to serve on the Hammonton Coronavirus Task Force. The task force includes volunteers from the community serving on subcommittees themed around providing guidance and information to residents in the following categories: Health and Safety, Community Goodwill and Economic Impact.
Birchler is helping to coordinate volunteers to assist with getting residents registered as well as volunteers for food distribution by the St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry. She has also coordinated efforts to help residents get food for their furry family members by working with nonprofit The Kibble Cupboard.
Ambassadors Reach Out to Prospective Ospreys
With campuses closed for tours and open house events this spring, the Enrollment Management team needed to get creative in its outreach to prospective Ospreys deciding where to continue their education this fall.
Stockton Admissions Ambassadors went live on Stockton’s Facebook page for “Straight Talk with a Stockton Student” the week of April 27 every evening to answer questions ranging from registering for classes, choosing a roommate and where to eat on and off campus. More than a dozen student ambassadors took turns sharing their favorite Stockton moments. Each session reached more than 5,000 people, and the replays are available. Great job Ambassadors and welcome future Ospreys!
Ospreys assist at Atlantic City and Manahawkin food distribution
Members of UNIDOS, including employees and alumni, volunteered for the Hispanic Association
of Atlantic County’s two food distributions in Atlantic City’s 4th, 5th, and 6th wards. Those wards neighbor Stockton’s A.C. campus and many residents do not qualify
for food relief programs. The first distribution was at the Boys and Girls Club
and the second one at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, which serves the Latinx community.
The event was supported by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. The local
Boom Food Market and La Villita Farm Market also provided food vouchers.
Members of the Stockton community who participated include Pedro Santana, Jessica Grullon, Irvin Moreno, Michael Cagno, Marques Johnson, student Matthew Miller and alumni Alejandra Londono and Cristian Moreno.
Students in the Manahawkin Nursing Club, right, collected diapers, baby care and personal care items for a temporary food pantry in Little Egg Harbor Township in Ocean County to assist families in need.
Students continue to offer naturalization classes
Six student fellows from the Stockton Center for Community Engagement have continued to offer remote naturalization classes to area residents. The classes were offered at the Atlantic City campus.
Connor Yackle, Izabelle DelRoss, Kristine Garcia, Lina Garrido, Haley Jones, and Ariana Ramirez coordinate the class through a weekly conference call on Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Students said there have been challenges, but they wanted to continue to help people who are dedicated to earning their citizenship.
“I think it has been really productive and extremely beneficial to the people who are taking the class because they have to practice their listening skills even more since we are not talking to them face to face,” said Garrido, a freshman who plans to major in health sciences.
Yackle, a sophomore business studies major, said not as many people are participating, but quite a few are continuing.
“It is more difficult to do these online classes because when we did it in person you could see the student and we would have memorable moments despite the language barrier,” Yackle said. “But I feel the students are still learning.”
Jones, Jones, a sophomore psychology major said the participants improve with every class
“I would love to take part in the naturalization class as long as I can because it’s amazing to see the progress that the students make from day one,” Jones said.”I am beyond proud of all of them!”
Employees keep food pantry operating on campus
Monica Viani and Laura Hughes from the Office of the Dean of Students, have been operating the food pantry on the main campus from 12:30-3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for students who still live on campus and those who live locally. The pantry in Atlantic City is also open Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They maintain social distancing with the students, and supplement donations with trips to stores.
Members of the Stockton community have also continued to support the food bank through on campus contactless drop-offs and an Amazon wish list.
"We cannot thank you all enough for the support you have given the Food Pantry, especially in these unprecedented times, Viani said, sharing a photo of the Amazon deliveries.
Health Science student gets closeup view of pandemic
Health Science student Amanda Onyeyemla transferred to Stockton University and began working as a technician at AtlantiCare in January. Her classes have transitioned online, and she has gone from working with geriatric patients to helping patients with the coronavirus in the Emergency Room and respiratory department.
“I can’t lie, it hasn’t been a pleasant health care experience,” she said. “It’s been very challenging in this hard time.”
There are late nights of submitting assignments, but there are moments of hope too.
“Every time I come in to work, ShopRite or Wawa has donated something like hoagies, coffee and cold drinks to help us get through the day. The other day, there were cards telling us that we are heroes, and it’s stuff like that that gives us the motivation to keep going,” she said.
Sew what? Masks, of course
Several members of the Stockton community have used their time at home to brush up (or develop) sewing skills to make masks for medical personnel and others to help #StopTheSpread. Here are a few of them:
First Lady Lynne Kesselman learned a longtime friend and neighbor who is also an AtlantiCare nurse and supervisor was sewing masks, so she joined the effort. So far she has created four dozen masks for AtlantiCare health care professionals and will also be making some for use by students when they visit the Stockton food pantry.
“It's created a sense of community in a time of isolation. And it's fun and helping others,” she said. “I think it's just really great that everybody’s doing anything and everything that they can to be helpful to those that need it the most right now.”
Jen Radwanski, director of Parent and Family Partnerships, recently stitched two dozen masks for Deborah Heart and Lung Center's Emergency Room staff.
"As a professional quilter, I just felt this was something I had to do. I had the supplies and reached out to my colleague Mark Adelung to see if they needed them, and they did," she explained.
Jennifer Wurst ‘02 is a registered nurse in AtlantiCare’s Emergency Room. A few years ago she left the post-surgical unit to challenge herself by joining the ER team. She’s been spending her time off behind her sewing machine making masks.
When one of Professor of Physical Therapy M. Alysia Mastrangelo’s students, Grace Kim mentioned in class that she was going to make and donate masks, she inspired Mastrangelo and student Gianna Benanti to join the cause, resulting in a collection of colorful fabric masks. They made about 200 for friends, family, and neighbors, local churches and the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.
Graduate student Gavin Rozzi used his technology hobby to vacuum cleaner bags into masks and fitting them with plastic respirators printed from his home with a 3D printer.
“Neighbors and friends are contributing supplies, so this has been a community effort,” Rozzi said.
Feeding those who are saving others
Kelly Kern of Galloway is helping bring food to those out on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also supporting local businesses.
Kern, assistant to the vice president of Facilities & Operations, has been collecting donations and buying meals from local businesses. As of April 16 she had raised more than $5,000 and delivered more than 900 meals to medical workers and first responders.
To learn more about Kern’s initiative, follow her on Instagram.
Staying in Touch
The Stockton Gerontology Club working with advisor Christine Gayda, sent birthday cards to a resident of Seashore Gardens Living Center in Galloway and made “thinking of you” cards for all residents of the center.
The Gerontology Club and Gayda work closely with the Stockton Center on Successful Aging (SCOSA), which has now converted its writing and mindfulness workshops to virtual Zoom meeting.