A time of giving
Merrimack College surpassed its goal of collecting and donating 100 Thanksgiving baskets to the Lawrence-based Neighbors in Need this season.
About 50 groups, departments, teams, sororities and fraternities, and some individuals put together 102 complete Thanksgiving dinners that included turkey and all the fixings and delivered them to Cascia Hall, where they were packed into Merrimack vans and brought to the Lawrence location.
“It is so exciting that all of these departments and groups come together for one service event,” said Elise Zajicek, the Augustinian volunteer in The Grace J. Palmisano Center for Campus Ministry who coordinated the basket drive. A large number of students volunteered to help collect the baskets. Zajicek said she appreciated the students getting up so early on a cold November morning to help out before heading off to class.
By 7:50 a.m., only 20 minutes into the drop-off period, three vans filled with Thanksgiving donations had already left the parking lot heading to Lawrence; many more vans were to follow.
The Girard School of Business collected $370 from faculty and staff to complete six dinner boxes. With that in mind, Christina Tarpy, faculty support coordinator for Girard School, shopped until she purchased everything six families would need to enjoy a true Thanksgiving feast. “At the checkout, the bill came to $370.03, only 3 cents over,” said Tarpy, who dropped off the boxes. “Our purchases filled the boxes with meals and other extras, such as a large bag of rice.”
Many groups donated multiple boxes. Dee Tuccelli, admissions operations specialist, dropped off four dinner boxes from the Admissions Office. In addition to the 102 full meals, Merrimack donated more than ten boxes of extra food, including 100 cream pies generously donated by Market Basket to add to the Merrimack donations.
One student volunteer, Zak Pelletier, returned for a second load after dropping off the first van full of meals at Neighbors in Need. “They had many volunteers accepting complete meals and individual items,” said Pelletier. “They were very appreciative of our donations.”
“I am overjoyed to collect and donate so much food from Merrimack College and happy to have extra food so even more baskets can be made,” said Zajicek.