In 2012, student Brian Sanderson noticed something out of the ordinary, his peers weren’t doing their homework. He remembered what the president of the college at the time, Dan Asquino, had said during orientation “look to the left of you and the right of you, a lot of you may not be here next semester.” Brian took this to heart and started asking around to see what was wrong with students and the answer was clear – students did not have enough to eat and it was affecting their ability to learn.
Sanderson decided that he wanted to create something that would provide students the tools they need to succeed – and so with the goal of providing food coupons and snacks to his fellow students, Brian launched Students Serving Our Students (SOS).
The initial program launch was successful, yet the need was still greater than what coupons and snacks could address. With help from Shelley Nicholson of the Brewer Center for Community Engagement, Sanderson started fundraising and writing grants to help fund an on-campus food pantry. Nicholson even went as far as touring food pantries at colleges and to get a sense of how they were operating.
So, where is the SOS program now? Just last year, MWCC entered a partnership with the Worcester County Food Bank, and the first such partnership in the area. The pantry typically provides 20 items a month to students in need. During the pandemic, the need has increased, and the food pantry has responded, increasing to 25 items to students every three weeks, as well as providing curbside pick-up for students.
Studies show that students who have the right tools will succeed, and the SOS program continues to give students the opportunity to succeed.
How can you do your part in helping the food pantry and your fellow classmates? Students are allowed to self-refer or may be referred by campus departments. Students in need are welcome to contact the pantry at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-630-9255 to learn more. Donations are always needed, contact them to coordinate a drop off (campus visits are by appointment only at this time).