by John Dello Russo, Rosanna Urbaez, and Lisbeth Valdez
On Saturday, September 19, 2020 several students of Merrimack College representing various clubs, sports teams, and other groups came together in 45 minute shifts to prepare meal packets to assist the many people throughout the Merrimack Valley who are facing food insecurity. The meal of the day was macaroni and cheese.
Students assembled packets of pasta and cheese which were then boxed and shipped to Merrimack Valley Food Pantry, a local organization which provides food to local food pantries and soup kitchens. Thirty thousand meals were prepared. These meals will become part of the groceries families will receive at their local food pantry.
The project is part of the Mack Gives Back initiative, which is in its 9th year at Merrimack College. This year, the tradition continued in spite of COVID19, but in a slightly different way. In past years students went out and worked in local community organizations. Projects might include painting, cleaning, or raking. This year, students worked in smaller groups of 20 students across multiple days to respect the social distancing protocols. On Monday, another group of students from the Women’s Lacrosse team loaded the boxes of packets (43 total) onto the truck of Merrimack Valley Food Pantry. Two additional projects are planned for October 17 and November 14.
With over 21 meal packing hours, this new service will prepare 21,000 meals for distribution to local food pantries.