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Keely McCaskie M’23, a public school administrator in Denver, Colo., is pursuing her master’s degree in community engagement online in the Winston School of Education and Social Policy.
Mack Gives Back has been a long-standing Merrimack College tradition. Each year, members of the College community – students, faculty, staff and alumni – coordinate service events throughout the community at various sites. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this year, Merrimack continued the tradition while keeping participants’ health and safety its number one priority.
Throughout the event’s three days of service, more than 580 students packed food for 37-plus hours, which resulted in 72,000 meals. All participants followed safety protocols and wore face coverings and maintained social distancing. These meals were donated to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, which will distribute the meals to food pantries and soup kitchens in the area.
In addition to the service efforts on campus, remote students and alumni across the country also participated in Mack Gives Back by organizing service opportunities near them.
“Although not our traditional format for Mack Gives Back, I think these three Mack Gives Back events happened exactly how God intended,” said Rosana Urbaez, director of Hands to Help. “Many families have one or two members who’ve lost their jobs and the need for food has never been greater. It brings me joy that Merrimack students played a role in helping remedy the tragic effects of the pandemic.”
Mack Gives Back takes place each November as a way to commemorate two days of great importance in Merrimack’s history: Veterans Day and St. Augustine’s birthday. The College was founded in 1947 by the Order of St. Augustine to provide educational opportunities to local soldiers returning home from World War II, so it is a fitting tradition that Mack Gives Back is meant to honor those who have served by serving others.