06Dec Students and Families Enjoy Feast Boxes Thanks to Generous Local Donors by Wendy Weichenthal (Marion) Dozens of Marion Technical College students and their families had full stomachs this Thanksgiving because of many generous local donors. Students, faculty, staff, the Buckeye Food Alliance, CareSource, the Mid-Ohio Food Collective and Wyandot Snacks joined forces to create feast boxes to provide healthy, nutritious food for Thanksgiving break. Genevieve Pickens works in the Connections Center and packed dozens of feast boxes for students and their families. Student worker Genevieve Pickens of Marion works in the Marion Tech Connections Center which includes a food pantry for students. Pickens led the efforts to pack 43 boxes with breakfast, lunch and dinner items including fresh potatoes, celery, apples, carrots and onions as well as canned fruits, vegetables and other pantry staples. “Students are helping students through the Connection Center and our partnerships. I couldn’t be prouder of this effort and Genevieve’s commitment to making this happen,” said Brandy Page, academic advisor and retention coordinator for Marion Tech. The requests for feast boxes more than doubled from last year. The boxes were filled thanks to these generous groups working together. “It makes me feel good to know I made a difference for these students and their families,” Pickens said. Food insecurity is common among college students locally and nationwide, with surveys finding that more than one-third are food insecure. The issue has become more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to student need, Marion Tech opened the Connections Center this fall with a food pantry, snacks, and a social worker to connect students to local resources for child care, transportation, housing and other needs. After filling the feast boxes, many campus food pantry shelves are bare. Pickens said there is a need to restock them. Canned meats, canned fruits, and macaroni and cheese are urgently needed. Canned vegetables, soups, grains and personal care items are also welcome. Donors who would like to support these students can drop off items to Bryson Hall, 1467 Mt. Vernon Ave., Marion, Ohio during normal business hours. “Many of our students juggle work, college and family responsibilities. We want to make sure that issues outside the classroom do not prevent them from succeeding. A college degree can be a game-changer for a person’s career options and earning potential,” said Dr. Ryan McCall, president of Marion Technical College. “We value the may ways these donors and our community support these students in need.” For more information, go to mtc.edu or call (740) 389-4636.