Local volunteers provide meals, educational info to local residents

Among the volunteers from Alamance Community College on June 18 were (left to right) Cathy Easter, Jane Fraser, Barb Young, Erin Sykes, and Jennifer Mock.

Alamance Community College contributed volunteers, coloring book packets, and program information to help feed and educate approximately 20,000 residents this spring and summer through a partnership between City Gate’s Dream Center, Impact Alamance, United Way, and The City of Burlington. Many community donors, volunteers, and businesses contributed to the effort.

Jen Mock, Director of Academic and Career Readiness, coordinated the College’s army of volunteers to help distribute boxed meals and other materials for the past 12 weeks to families in need in East Burlington at the Dream Center on North Church Street.

“We have been fortunate to have the facilities at City Gate's Dream Center. We have 40-60 ESOL [English to Speakers of Other Languages] students who have been taking classes there, and our department has plans on adding more ACC programs,” said Mock. 

Each Thursday between 5-7 p.m. since late March, families in East Burlington have brought their vehicles to the Dream Center drive-through area where they have received hot boxed meals, diapers and baby wipes, health department and census information, and program flyers from ACC. Approximately 1,800 meals have been served each week to date. 

To protect from the coronavirus, masks and gloves are provided to all volunteers who serve the vehicles. The final meal distribution is Thursday, June 25.

The College provided additional educational materials for youngsters recently. During the June 18 pick-up, families with children received Women’s Suffrage coloring book packets from the ACC History Club, materials originally slated to go to ABSS students before the public schools closed due to the pandemic. The College had hosted a Women's Suffrage historic exhibition earlier this year for hundreds of middle school students. 

“We just couldn't let this educational material go to waste. It was free to the college, paid for by grant funds, and we have kids across the county who need engagement,” said Sherri Singer, Department Head for ACC’s Social and Behavioral Sciences, and advisor to the campus History Club. “The History Department used their funds to purchase crayons for the packs and provided bracelets. Then a group of ACC volunteers stuffed 1,000 packets that included recruiting information for parents. We hope the materials and activities provide a positive distraction and a little ray of sunshine during this difficult time.” 

ACC’s participation in this community drive has been selected as ACC's service project presentation at the North Carolina Community College Annual Conference this October.