Great Food For A Great Cause

Information on Kean University's Gourmet Dining and their donations to Cougar Pantry

Campus News > Great Food For A Great Cause
Great Food For A Great Cause
The Cougar's Den is a dining option exclusive to Kean which offers ample seating and T.V. screen options.
Jaclyn Lukas, Staff Writer

Gourmet Dining has been a loyal provider at Kean University and an integral part in providing fine-dining options all throughout campus. Along with well-known establishments such as Starbucks and Jersey Mikes, Gourmet Dining gives students meal plans to suit everyone’s campus lifestyle. Now, Gourmet Dining has teamed up with the Cougar Pantry to aid food-insecure students during these tough times. 

Resident District Manager, Michael Caramanica, from Aberdeen, NJ has been in the food industry for 15 years and Gourmet Dining for almost ten of those years. Caramanica began his journey at Monmouth Park Racetrack, working in the Sports and Entertainment division of food services. Then moving on to higher education dining at universities such as Rowan and Rutgers. 

Carmanica explained, “I just recently took the role as resident district manager for GDS here at Kean in January of 2020.” 

Gourmet Dining takes great pride in their involvement with the local communities that surround their partnered universities. One of these communities includes the Cougar Pantry, which provides food care packages to food-insecure students. Knowing this, Gourmet Dining was eager to help fulfill Cougar Pantry’s goals. 

When asked about the initiative to donate to Cougar Pantry, Carmanica said, “we wanted to get involved and help as much as we possibly could, understanding that there was a greater need for support during this pandemic than ever before.”

Boost mobile ordering is how Gourmet Dining transitioned into fully mobile ordering this past year to provide a safe and effective food service for students on campus. This platform is also how Gourmet Dining was able to promote their donation process. To incentivize the use of the mobile ordering, Gourmet Dining made the decision to donate ten cents for every transaction placed on the app from Nov 1-24, to the Cougar Pantry. 

Caramanica said, “Although the residential population was limited this year due to the pandemic, we were able to effectively donate a total of $1,648.50.” 

Although there are no immediate events being coordinated between Gourmet Dining and Cougar Pantry for the spring, that is not saying there is no opportunity. Gourmet Dining has committed to the “Boost it Forward” donation program this upcoming fall, during the holiday season. The goal is that there will be a greater campus population that will in turn grow the annual donation program. 

Gourmet Dining views the “Boost it Forward” program as just the beginning of the developing relationship between them and Cougar Pantry. As the food service provider for Kean, Gourmet Dining knows there will be many opportunities for them and Kean University to partner for future events and projects. 

Caramanica said, “We look forward to growing our admired partnership with Kean and being a valuable resource for this community for years to come.”

For more information on Gourmet Dining be sure to follow the link to their webpage from the Gourmet Dining Kean University page. Students can also contact Michael Caramanica at or by phone at (908) 737-5163. 

about the author

Jaclyn Lukas, Staff Writer

Jaclyn Lukas is an English major with a concentration in writing. She joined The Cougar’s Byte staff in Spring 2021. After her time at Kean, Jaclyn hopes to start her professional career in publishing for books or newspapers/magazines.