黑料天堂

黑料天堂

Essentials for all: Gamecock CommUnity Shop aims to be resource for 黑料天堂 campus

<p>The doors of the Gamecock Community Shop on May 31, 2024. Located in the Carolina Coliseum, the shop offers free essentials to 黑料天堂 students, faculty, and staff with a valid CarolinaCard.</p>
The doors of the Gamecock Community Shop on May 31, 2024. Located in the Carolina Coliseum, the shop offers free essentials to 黑料天堂 students, faculty, and staff with a valid CarolinaCard.

Inside Suite 4000 of the Carolina Coliseum sits the Gamecock CommUnity Shop. All around the store are racks filled with professional and casual clothing as well as graduation gowns and shelves that hold food, cleaning supplies and school supplies.

The Gamecock CommUnity Shop is an on-campus resource for any 黑料天堂 students, faculty and staff that need help with obtaining supplies to meet their basic needs. The store can also be used as a place for busy students to get snacks or even to stop in and hang out with friends or meet new people.

Anyone using the store has to present a valid CarolinaCard and can buy supplies from the shop using a monthly 40-point budget. Clothing is the only thing that can bought from the store that does not count toward the monthly budget. 

The store was initially several different student-run initiatives including the Gamecock Pantry, the Carolina Closet, Gamecock school supplies and the Self-Expression Closet. 

In the summer of 2022, administrators and student leaders from various campus offices, including the store's current head of student care and outreach Austin LaForest, met to discuss merging the initiatives into one.

鈥淲e wanted to find a way to consolidate those into one location to streamline things for students so that they could go to one place for free resources to shop for free, for whether it be clothing, whether it be school supplies, whether it be for food items, or toiletries,鈥 LaForest said. 

The CommUnity Shop also has a coordinator, Rachel Brasell, who helps serve as a basic needs resource for all 黑料天堂 students, faculty and staff.

鈥淚f somebody is struggling with housing insecurity or financial insecurity or food insecurity, they can submit a basic needs referral, and I will get back to them within 24 hours about services that are resources that I can link them with and help them get sort of set up for success,鈥 Brasell said. 

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Clothes and donation bins outside the Gamecock Community Shop on May 31, 2024. Located in the Carolina Coliseum, the shop offers free essentials to 黑料天堂 students, faculty, and staff with a valid CarolinaCard.

The store strives to reduce community perception about free resources on campus, the community store's executive director Charlotte Bostwick said.

鈥淲e try to be open, you know, and just reduce the stigma about free things. People call us a soup kitchen or a thrift store, and we鈥檙e not trying to base ourselves around those labels," Bostwick said. "We鈥檙e just a free store that anybody can use.鈥

While the community store is a basic needs resource, any member of the Gamecock community can come and get supplies that they need.

鈥淲e highly encourage people to just come in here for snacks. They go the fastest," Bostwick said. "So we know people are using it for just snacks. And it's not just for people who just really need it 鈥 it's for everybody."

LaForest and Brasell both said they try to make sure they reach as many community leaders and members as possible each semester through through presentations and the organization fair.

鈥淥ur goal is to continuously build those partnerships and make sure folks know that they can refer to us if they've got a student who's in need of resources, and we'll help them to connect it," LaForest said.

Those who want to donate to the store can make an , buy items off of the store鈥檚 or drop off donations at the store鈥檚 location from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Students can  also volunteer at the store by becoming a Unity Pal. All Unity Pals attend a training led by the store's executives at the beginning of the semester and can then sign up for weekly shifts at the store. Anyone interested can fill out the online application to become a Unity Pal for the upcoming semester when the form opens in July.

鈥淲e like to say it's Gamecocks supporting Gamecocks," Bostwick said. "Support the people that you鈥檙e in the community with because it betters the community as a whole." 


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