When college students need a helping hand with necessities, the SHOP program continues to find ways to support them.

Located in Room 3 of the basement of Penfield Library, SHOP (Students Helping Oz Peers) provides students with many services, said coordinator Helena Buttons, a senior double major in communication and social interaction and in English. 

Buttons explained that there are over 2,000 items on the SHOP shelves which range from non-perishable goods and canned foods, toiletries and sexual health products. SHOP also has winter and professional clothing sections with an accompanying dressing room -- and all of these services are free to SUNY Oswego students, faculty and staff. 

This semester people can come in and browse during open hours -- 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays -- or use a SHOP online form and place an order for pick up.

Buttons wants students to know that they are not alone if they are in need of help.

“Studies have shown that anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of attendees of two- and four-year colleges suffer from food insecurity at some point during their time there,” Buttons said. 

In continuing to find ways to serve students, Buttons developed an app that allows volunteers to manage inventory and User IDs, which “has dramatically helped with our functioning and allowed us to focus more on our goals for SHOP,” Buttons said. 

Expanding outreach

This semester will feature more community outreach, with at least one event per month. The first will be a Greek Life food drive that will run Oct. 4 through 8. During this event, SHOP will partner with five Greek organizations on campus with a goal of reaching 500 items donated. Another new event planned for October is “SHOP and Swap,” a business clothing drive and swap.

Along with those events, they are working with Auxiliary Services to bring homestyle prepared meals to SHOP’s freezers. 

SHOP also is embracing social media, doing a series on Instagram called “Taste of Home” where they make recipes that can be made using only things found in SHOP and most homes.

A supportive and confidential service available to students, SHOP opened in October 2016, and continues to be free with a simple signup process.

“It all begins with a UserID number,” Buttons said. “All people who have not used SHOP this semester fill out a form and receive a UserID number to keep usage confidential. “ The form is available in person and on the SHOP website

SHOP also always needs volunteers, and the process to join up and help is simple. 

“We have a volunteer interest form on our website that our volunteer management intern, Jake (Czaplicki), will respond to and get you trained and volunteering in no time,” Button said.

For more information on SHOP's services and operations, visit the SHOP website.

-- Written by Braylon Noble of the Class of 2021

Student volunteers help take inventory of stock for the SHOP food pantry

Student volunteers help take inventory of stock for the SHOP food pantry during a recent service event.