Campus Competition for a Good Cause

Alumni generosity benefits food pantry for students

Mayco Lucero, a first-year Rutgers–Camden student and a Rutgers University Alumni Association ambassador, helped to collect contributions to the Raptor Pantry.

By Mary Clare Venuto CCAS’07, GSC’09

Rutgers University–Camden alumni stepped up to support students at risk of going hungry, an effort that pushed Rutgers–Camden to a victory over its sibling university in North Jersey.

A friendly weeklong competition in November 2020 between the Alumni Engagement offices of Rutgers–Camden and Rutgers University–Newark was dubbed the Raptors versus Raiders Food Drive Challenge (Rutgers–Newark’s mascot is the Scarlet Raiders). A total of 116 Rutgers–Camden donors gave either food or funds, compared with 105 from Rutgers–Newark.

By having the most participants, which included alumni, faculty, staff, and students, Rutgers– Camden earned a $1,000 bonus from the Rutgers University Foundation, putting the value of donations to the RaptorPantry at $7,100. “These generous gifts are very helpful to our students who have struggled in so many ways due to the pandemic,” said Maria Serra, Rutgers–Camden’s director of health services. “We very much appreciate the support, as do our students who continue to use the Raptor Pantry.”

The competition addressed a serious concern affecting campuses nationwide. Estimates are that 20 percent of college students experience food insecurity, meaning that they do not have access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food to maintain good health. In response, Rutgers–Camden opened the Raptor Pantry in fall 2017. Since then, more than 1,200 students have visited the pantry more than 8,000 times to access free food. “Many of the students are so grateful that the pantry is here,” said Madrid Moore, the operations coordinator at the Student Wellness Center. “They say, ‘Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!’”

Although the campus competition has ended, alumni and others can still contribute food or money to the Alumni generosity benefits food pantry for students Raptor Pantry. For more information on how to donate, visit

The pantry has remained open during the pandemic, and is available to any Rutgers student via appointment. For more, visit

Mary Clare Venuto is acting director of alumni engagement and annual giving.

Posted in: 2021 Spring, On Campus

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