By: Joshua Bowling
MCC honors students participated in feeding the homeless on Oct. 26, joining forces with the other Maricopa Community Colleges and Central Arizona Shelter Services.
Nearly 80 honors students from all of the Maricopa Community Colleges came out to participate. The students made lunches, wrote notes to the recipients, and distributed the bagged lunches.
Honors Program Director at MCC, Shereen Lerner, and Jennifer Wood – honors program director and professor of mathematics and computer science – teamed up with the district honors council to put the event together.
The district honors council, which serves the entire Maricopa County Community College District, conducted the event – dubbed #Hashtag Lunchbag – making it accessible for students of all the Maricopa Community Colleges.
The various honors programs teamed up with Central Arizona Shelter Services, which serves the homeless by providing shelter and aims to meet their basic needs.
Faculty and students were either assigned making sandwiches, writing positive notes to place in the bags, or drawing pictures on the bags.
Students and faculty caravanned to the shelter and were required to travel in pairs for safety purposes, Lerner said. When they parked and began walking from their vehicles to the shelter, they spotted those in need who were not in the shelter. The students saw this as an opportunity to exhibit charity before they even reached the shelter.
The students and faculty were not allowed to enter the Central Arizona Shelter when they arrived. They simply handed the bags of food through the gates of the facility to the staff members working there.
“We’re actually going to do one of these big events every semester,” Lerner said. “Next semester, we’re not sure, but we may go to work on the Habitat for Humanity project. That’s still being planned.”
These events are being conducted district-wide, but MCC is looking to draw from them and have college-specific, charitable outreaches, Lerner said.
“I think it was a great experience,” Lerner said.
MCC student, Da’sheem Williams said the event was a great idea. He has done volunteer work with other organizations in the past.
“I’d like to volunteer again,” Williams said.
MCC’s honors program embarks on charitable events every semester. For more information, they can be reached at (480) 461-7079.
Though the event is over, MCC students still have the opportunity to donate food to other charities such as St. Mary’s Food Bank.
St. Mary’s Food Bank is performing their annual drive for Thanksgiving. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas season of 2013, they were able to give more than 30,000 turkeys to those in need, according to Jerry Brown, director of media relations.
This year, however, St. Mary’s is looking to distribute more than 20,000 turkeys. They have received about 10,000 turkeys, according to Brown. “We need another 20, because we think that we’re going to be distributing every bit …”
Safeway has partnered with St. Mary’s, offering a free turkey with the purchase of another up until Thanksgiving Day.
“I don’t think that we’re looking at an increase over last year,” Brown said. The need for donations is not decreasing, though, he said.
MCC student, Torrey McDannald, said helping the homeless is admirable.
“Shouldn’t anybody who has a turkey dinner be interested in helping someone who doesn’t?” McDannald asked.
St. Mary’s next big drive is the “Annual Super Saturday Turkey Drive” on Nov. 22. From 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., they will be accepting donations at their Phoenix and Surprise locations, as well as 15 Albertsons stores throughout the Valley. More information on the drive is available at www.firstfoodbank.org.
Donations can be made to St. Mary’s Phoenix and Surprise locations. Their Phoenix location is at 3003 W. Thomas Road, and their Surprise location resides at 13050 W. Elm St. Surprise.
St. Mary’s can also be reached by phone at (602) 242-FOOD (3663).