Wednesday mornings mean food at QCC… and lots of it. That’s when Bonnie Coleman,Terry Vecchio, and the amazing Facilities staff head over to the Worcester County Food Bank to pick up (literally) 2000 pounds of food. Week after week they show up and have one hour to load all 2000 pounds onto a conveyor belt, weigh it and load the van. Once the van is full, they bring their catch back to campus to get it ready for students in need.
A dedicated mix of staff and volunteers work together to unload the food and package it for parking lot, contact-less distribution. They make up bags for students so they can pull up and get their food without ever getting out of the car. (Keep in mind, they do have to sign up online in advance). What’s in the bags? The bags contain chicken, pork or beef, fresh fruit and veggies. Corn on the cob, zucchini, avocados, bananas, apples, pineapples and more. That’s not all, they also get bread, flour, peanut butter, butter, milk, eggs and canned foods. It varies week to week depending on what they are able to get from WCFB.
After all the food is packaged into grocery bags specifically designed to meet the needs of families, it’s brought to the roundabout on the main campus. The team sets up a line and volunteers load their cars with groceries for contact-less hand off. They are welcome to return the following week if they are still in need.
On an average we serve 42 students in one hour (Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30). All students who utilize the food pantry fill out a new intake form even if they had already registered with the food pantry prior to shut down. Once the new intake form has been filled out again, they can return each week to collect their groceries.
In addition to food, students were requesting hygiene products, that’s when QCC’s PTK chapter stepped in and started creating hygiene kits. In addition to groceries, students are now able to pick up free soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, tampons, sanitary pads, diapers, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Think about how good you feel after a nice shower and a good meal. Some of us may take this for granted, but those two things go a long way.
It’s been difficult for some, but we’re proud that our college has been able to help so many of our students. All of this wouldn’t be possible without the planning, dedication, organization and hard work from Bonnie Coleman, Terry Vecchio, facilities staff, QCC staff volunteers, Worcester County Food Bank, and the PTK chapter members (for donating hygiene kits & supplies). They say it takes a village. At QCC we say it takes a community.
If you're a QCC student in need, please reach out. We have the resources to help. Learn more about the QCC Food Pantry, how to become a client or how to help.