Every holiday season, Student Services chooses a select number of families to receive nutritional assistance from MC. Families are eligible to be chosen for the program after being identified as a low income household.
“We do it to ensure the kids of these families are being fed during the holidays,” Sheila Hatfield, a Student Services Specialist, said.
Student Services aims to feed as many poverty-stricken families as possible.
“This Thanksgiving we were able to help 25 [families],” Hatfield said. “Our goal is 35, but we’re always hoping for as more, if at all possible.”
Hatfield often relies on student volunteers, who have assisted the program in various ways.
“We’ve had students bring in food and package it together for the families,” Hatfield said.
Even with student generosity, Hatfield is often required to track down more donations.
“You could say that I coordinate the program, but I’m also the main beggar,” Hatfield said. “I have to put myself out there to find donors.”
To Hatfield, searching for donors is often a game of chance.
“It’s all a matter of finding the right person at the right time,” Hatfield said.
Though many families are assisted by the program, Hatfield is sometimes disappointed by the donations, which are not always ideal.
“The food that comes in often has a lot of preservatives, since those have a longer storage life,” Hatfield said. “That’s really not the healthiest. I wish we could give these families fresher and healthier food, but no such luck.”
Despite the food quality, the families helped are notably grateful.
“A lot of the students and families who we’ve helped have written notes and emails expressing gratitude,” Hatfield said. “Some of them have shown quite a bit of emotion, and it makes me happy to see how we’ve helped people.”
Hatfield is just glad to see the community reach out to assist their friends and neighbors in need during the holidays.
“It’s always been very heartwarming to see these families so willing and ready to help one another,” Hatfield said.
Students who are able can assist Student Services by donating canned foods or $15-$25 grocery store gift cards.