A week before Thanksgiving Day, nearly 100 gleeful Monroe Community College students pulled up in their cars to receive holiday meal kits curbside at MCC campuses in Brighton and downtown Rochester. Each kit contained canned food, boxes, and bags of ingredients, plus a voucher good for a turkey at any store, to feed a family—all donated by local community partners, including Foodlink.
“All the people who came were very happy and appreciative,” said Maryam Masoud, who along with her sister, Freshta, joined other MCC volunteers—made up of students and staff—to distribute the kits at the Turkey Drop. The event built on the efforts of MCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society chapter members to research and respond to barriers to student success, including food insecurity among students and families during the fall semester.
Their research showed that consistent access to food is among their peers’ most pressing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic limiting students’ access to both campuses this semester, PTK members volunteered at curbside food distribution events and helped organize the Turkey Drop in support of MCC food pantries.
Students receiving the kits previously overcame hardships that nearly prevented them from continuing their education. MCC gave them a hand in the form of micro-grants through Dreamkeepers and the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation.
“It’s very important to me for students to have access to food and other services, feel valued, and know that their college community is thinking of them,“ said Masoud, a vice president of PTK who will earn an associate degree in global studies in December 2020.