New Jersey Institute of Technology Helps Needy Families During Holiday Season

NEWARK, Nov. 28--About a dozen students at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) recently started the holiday season by learning first-hand the joy of giving. The students spent two days shopping, then packing and distributing boxes filled with fresh turkeys and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner. Forty Newark area families were the recipients.

"We've been packing these boxes since 1998," says Kathleen Hoffman, student support services program (SSSP) director and a Jersey City resident. Mother Shepard of Good Neighbor Baptist Church, Newark, once again assisted Hoffman with the distribution to needy Newark area families. Helpers included Newark resident Shaheerah Bailey, program secretary, who founded this special NJIT project, program counselor Dana Lopes, and 13 NJIT students who use support services.

Undergraduate students who participated in the program were Bruce Bellak, Howell; Wanda Cabrera, Belleville; John Chomicz ,Bayonne; Joel Concepcion, Union City; Zi Goy, Hackettstown; Chelise Hutchins-Gray, Avenel; Nadia Khan, Jersey City; David Meier , Elizabeth; Hamel Patel, Carteret; Trupti Patel ,North Bergen; Jonathan Salazar, Kearny; Renee Schleckmann, Clark; Anna Tomczak, Manahawken, ,Alexandra Uribe, Berkeley Heights.

NJIT students, staff and faculty members annually fund the project through donations of either cash or non-perishable food items. "We want to thank our donors for their generous contributions this year which resulted in raising $500 and enough non-perishable foods to fill 40 dinner boxes," says Hoffman. Each box can feed up to ten people. The cash purchases an uncooked turkey for every one of the 40 families.

"This is an important program, because area families receive help while our students get the chance to give of themselves to other people. For some of them this is a reversal since many of our students often are on the receiving end," says Hoffman. SSSP is a federally funded program serving about 200 disabled, low income and/or first-generation NJIT undergraduates. Services include tutoring, counseling and cultural enrichment.


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Robert Florida
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