Recently, the College opened the Golden Knight Shop, which offers no- or low-cost food and clothing to the Saint Rose community. The pop-up shop will be open in the Events and Athletics Center on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donations of nonperishable food and gently-used adult clothing are welcome.
The store came about when items for a food pantry and a collection of professional clothing were pulled out of a Huether School of Business. Opening a shop sounded more inviting than dispensing charity. The project was a coordinated effort of student development, social work students, and business faculty.
We asked Meg Parascandola, student development coordinator. to tell us more about how the Golden Knight Shop came to be.
How did this effort start?
Over the past year, a committee formed and developed a food pantry for the Saint Rose campus where we provide meal bags to anyone in the Saint Rose community who needs one. Each bag contains enough for three each; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While this has been a great resource, we have many students and community members reluctant to use the program. Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to many emergency-meal programs – nobody wants to see themselves in need.
Earlier this semester I was approached by students Andrea Mendonza and Matt Smith, both social work students, as they were looking for a service project and a way to make a difference on campus. I brought the students to the meal bag storage area, and they were amazed by the resources. We got to work brainstorming how we could bring this resource to our community in a stigma reduced environment.
Alongside the meal bag program, tucked away in what is known as “the Harry Potter” closet in the Huether School of Business, was a stash of professional and semi-professional clothing intended to be a resource to students entering the work force and for networking events. The clothing was collected by Professor Mark Michalisin, Sarah Sharkey, a business and marketing major, and the Saint Rose Business Professionals Club. Combining the current food resource program with a potential clothing resource for our campus seemed like a natural marriage. We combined our efforts and The Golden Knight Shop was formed.
Why was this approach important?
The remaining challenge was how to make these resources available and sustainable to our community in the least restrictive way. The food pantry committee, along with volunteers and community members, have placed high value on accessibility, limiting stigma, and the community engagement of these resources. Born was the idea of adopting a thrift-store model and removing the word pantry all together. The Golden Knight Shop is not the official name of our shop but the identity. We needed to be called something, and shop embodies our mission. We will have more regarding an official name in the future!
The Golden Knight Shop unofficially opened on Tuesday, November 9, and will have a grand opening on Wednesday, November 17. The shop serves our community in way that encourages people to only take what they need, but allows an opportunity for folks to contribute as well. We accept financial donations, along with food and clothing donations, and of course volunteers! In this model nobody feels like they are receiving a handout, as they are very much contributors. We already had two students purchase sports jackets for $2 each for upcoming interviews. They were psyched and so were we!
Where can students and employees find the shop?
The shop can be found in the EAC at the tables each week and this is intentional. (We) wanted to bring these resources to our community and stop asking our community to find them. We will roll out our carts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the remainder of the semester with a new schedule issued for next semester to meet revolving needs.
With new inventory of food and clothing each week, we hope the shop becomes a place that not only breaks down any stigma, but becomes a resource people look forward to visiting. The shop is looking for volunteers to staff the shop and anyone interested in becoming more involved can email email@example.com.