College Community Gives Back, Gives Thanks

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Students, faculty and staff at MEC honored Thanksgiving by giving back and reflecting on their blessings.

The community celebrated with several events, including a feast last Friday for faculty and staff that was served by the Executive Cabinet. There was a turkey giveaway on Tuesday sponsored by Municipal Credit Union, one of MEC’s corporate partners.  The Student Government Association stayed busy by hosting several meals, including two on Tuesday.

MEC was founded on the idea of “people living out the purpose of doing something bigger than themselves,” President Rudolph F. Crew said at the Friday feast, where he was among the servers.

As the festivities were underway, the community spread the word on the College campaign to end hunger and to aid homeless students. The College has established a Homeless Coordinating Committee (HCC) as the single point of access to information for students.

The committee is on track to begin a “Transition Academy” in January 2016: a one-stop center for a variety of services.  The College has established a Campus Food Pantry; computer access for students to get information, resources and assistance; and a private area to talk with dedicated staff who will help them navigate available social services.  There is also a dedicated phone number to serve as a hotline for students to talk with someone about their situation.

In the cafeteria on Tuesday, 50 students had arrived in just 20 moments to enjoy a lavish spread served by SGA members. The menu included turkey and dressing, curried chicken, mac and cheese, salmon, rice, sweet potatoes and a dessert spread.

At one table, Danielle Lee, a nursing student, and her friend Daniel Damy, a Computer Science major, enjoyed plates laden with food.

“It’s a good get together,” said Lee, who is from Jamaica. “For me, I live in a shelter. Apart from the free food it’s good being here today with my friend. I’m an international student and my sponsor had financial difficulties. Things went bad. I had to leave.”

Said Damy: “This is a good way to get more people socializing with each other. I feel great. I am with my friend.”

Damy, from Haiti, said he also took time to say a prayer. It was for the 59,000 Haitians who have to eventually leave the U.S. or face deportation after the Trump administration on Monday ended their Temporary Protected Status.

“There are a lot of my people who have TPS,” Damy said. “Some of them have left for Canada.” 

Lee, who said she lived in a women’s shelter in Brooklyn, was introduced by a staff member to Dr. Edward Hernandez, chair of the Social Work Department and the faculty coordinator for Transition Academy. Hernandez and two student volunteers, Taina Martinez and Jessica Gray, were in a room above the cafeteria, handing out turkeys.