As the festivities of Mercy Week begin to wind down here at Maria College, I have been thinking back on how food has been such an important part of the week. Students, faculty, and guests snacked on popcorn while watching the film A Calling on Monday evening. On Wednesday, a delicious International Pot Luck lunch was served to the College community (the chicken curry got rave reviews!). And Mercy Associates shared tea and sweets on campus Thursday morning.
As a person who relishes at least three square meals a day with a few snacks thrown in, I am always aware of the importance and power of food as a central feature of our lives. Food allows our bodies to function; food keeps our moods in check (think “hangry”!); food allows our brains to work to their best capacity; and food shared with others certainly feeds our souls.
Food was an important part of some of the miracles that Jesus performed from the wedding at Cana where He changed water into wine to the miracle of the loaves and fishes where Jesus fed five thousand people from five loaves of bread and two fish.
Sadly, according to the Unites States Department of Agriculture, in 2017, an estimated 40 million people lived in households in the United States that were food insecure which is defined as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.”
And for some college students who have the expenses of an education along with families and often part-time work, food insecurity is also a reality. A 2016 survey of about 4,000 students from two- and four-year colleges in twelve states showed that 48% of the students had experienced food insecurity within the past thirty days.
In the spirit of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy who list “feed the hungry” among their corporal works of mercy, students at Maria College have access to good, healthy food through the on-campus Maria Market Food Pantry in the basement area of the Main Building.
Due to the generosity of the Sisters of Mercy and members of the College community, the well-stocked Food Pantry is open every day from 11:30am to 1:00pm for anyone to visit and anytime through the Student Success Center (just stop in and ask anyone to assist you with access to the Pantry!).
The Pantry shelves are stocked with everything from breakfast cereal to spaghetti to baking supplies to frozen ground turkey and sausage to laundry detergent, shampoo, and so much more! And a special shout out is needed here for Sandy who is essential to keeping the shelves well stocked!!! Thank you for all you do.
If you have not had the opportunity to visit the Food Pantry, please stop by. If you have need at any time for the Pantry, please know that we are here. And if you would like to donate to the Pantry, you are always welcome to.
All the best,