Members of the Hillary A. (Bartlett) Newsome Foundation donated 700 pounds of food, which was gathered during a Leominster food drive, to the Mount Wachusett Community College Food for Thought Pantry on Friday.
The donation of 1009 items were made in honor of MWCC alumna Hillary Newsome who passed away last year. The food was gathered during a food drive at the Samoset School in Leominster. Hillary’s brother Nick Bartlett and the foundation’s Community Outreach Director Jenn Perla dropped off the food to the Food for Thought Pantry to support students at a school that Hillary loved during her time as a student at the college. She was an in-home caregiver for children with autism and always active in the community.
“We were determined to keep her memory alive and thus the foundation was born,” said Perla. “She was inspirational and a real help to people.”
The food is much needed by the pantry. Since October of 2017, 173 students have signed up for food pantry services with 1447 items being given out from the beginning of July through the end of this November. The Food for Thought Campus Pantry is operated in partnership with the Gardner Community Action Committee.
“The Food for Thought Campus Pantry functions solely on donations. Our students work so hard to be here and we look at the food pantry as just another in a long line of services MWCC offers to ensure students are successful,” said Shelley Errington Nicholson, the director of the Brewer Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement who oversees operation of the food pantry. “Without donations, like the one we are receiving today from the Bartlett Foundation, none of this would be possible.”
The Hillary A. (Bartlett) Newsome Foundation’s goal is to continue Hillary’s work in changing the lives of children with autism, special needs, and life threatening illnesses by offering hope, courage, and acceptance. The Foundation aims to provide long term financial assistance to children and their families that are affected by Autism, special needs, and life threatening illnesses in an effort to enhance their quality of life by inspiring friends of the foundation to help make a difference.