Middlesex College’s MCC Cares became the Community Resource Hub & Food Pantry over the summer to provide students with additional resources in addition to serving as the food pantry.
Basic needs coordinator, Amanda Lyons, will run the Community Resource Hub & Food Pantry.
Lyons said the pantry expanded its services while also taking charge of loaning Chromebooks to students and helping students with school supplies who need resources.
Lyons said, “For those who need chromebooks, due to a short supply, they’re currently only being given out to those who are in need of a laptop for their classes.”
Incoming student Kristen Turmo said she was moved by the college’s effort to address food insecurity and is proud of how it makes college feel more like a community while being a commuter.
According to the website, currently enrolled students will have to register by filling out an MCC Cares Food Pantry form.
Unfortunately, students who are not actively enrolled in college will not be able to use the food pantry’s services. However, they can find a link to the Middlesex Resource Net webpage on the college’s site, which can help students find local food pantries and soup kitchens that are able to help, said Lyons.
Lyons said once a form is filled out, she will use the contact information listed to schedule an appointment to meet for pick-up.
“Currently, we are scheduling appointments for Wednesday from twelve to 5:30 p.m., but students can make other arrangements with me if they can’t make it during that time,” Lyons said.
Students should be wary of the hours listed on the web page for they may not reflect the hours it is being operated for this semester.
Lyons recommends students email her about any questions they may have as the web page for the food pantry is in the process of being revamped. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone interested in donating nonperishable food items and toiletries can find an outdoor contactless drop box near the food pantry’s entrance at the rear of the College Center (adjacent to the handicap parking between lots 16 & 3).
Lyons said the outdoor bin was placed there if anyone was worried about entering the building during the pandemic or arrived during hours when the campus doors were closed.
She added that there are large collection bins located inside the College Center and in the lobbies of The Gateway building and West Hall.
According to the website, the current list of items in need is: boxed, evaporated or powdered dairy or nondairy milk, protein such as meat, poultry, fish, beans, legumes and nuts, fruits and vegetables, grains, cooking oil and hygiene products for babies.
A full list with detailed examples can be found under the student life-food pantry section of the website.
Kelly Rodriguez, a second-year student, who recently learned about the food pantry said, “It’s great to give out a list that focuses on the needs of the students so we know our donations will help address the needs of others. I’m sure every bit helps, but a more targeted approach is what you want to see.”
A link is also provided on the webpage to anyone who would like to make a financial contribution by gift cards or direct payment. According to the website, gift cards to Costco, ShopRite or Stop & Shop are welcomed.
Students who need help in filing for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits can also make an appointment.
Lyons said she can help students learn whether they qualify and how they can enroll in the state program.