Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) is known for going above and beyond to help its students, staff, and the community in general and last week was no exception. The college partnered with St. Mary’s Food Bank on April 23 to distribute nearly 200 food boxes to families in need.
“Families throughout the Valley are in need of food items and the pandemic has created an even greater need,” said Herschel Jackson, Student Services Manager.
St. Mary's Food Bank provides food items for the EMCC student pantry as well as a mobile pantry once a month, but because of social distancing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers had to find a creative solution to get the food onto the tables of folks who need it most. That solution came in the form of a drive-thru food pantry.
“After several of the Maricopa Community Colleges shared information about hosting drive-thru food pantries, we decided it was something we needed to bring to our campus,” Jackson said.
While temperatures crept toward triple digits, about 25 volunteers, mostly EMCC employees, loaded boxes of food into the trunks of cars while the recipients stayed inside their vehicles with the windows rolled up. The Avondale Police Department was eager to provide support by directing traffic.
“The whole process went really smoothly,” said Debra Maihofer, a member of EMCCs Institutional Advancement team, who helped volunteer that day.
Drivers of the vehicles were shown instructions through their car windows and then pulled up to a loading area where volunteers placed the food boxes into their trunks.
Despite the unseasonably hot weather, volunteers still donned personal protective equipment provided by the school’s Nursing program.
“It was especially hot wearing face masks and gloves, but knowing that we were helping out families in need was well worth it,” Maihofer said. “EMCC has a strong connection with the local community and this was a great way to show our commitment and help those in need.
EMCC President Dr. Rey Rivera, who also volunteered that day, expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped plan and participated in the event.
“Our EMCC family is always willing to step up and help those in need,” he said. “We have a strong commitment to our students, staff, and the community. It was a great team effort.”