On April 27th, after a five-year absence, the Rotary Club of Bedford will reunite with Middlesex Community College for the club’s 9th annual meal-packing effort to feed hungry people around the world. The college last partnered with the club and hosted the meal-packing at its Bedford campus in 2019. This year, the story of the Food Pantry program at Middlesex Community College brings a new dimension to the partnership.

The CBS Evening News (2/19/24) reported that a decade ago, there were just 80 college food pantries, and today, there are upwards of 800 on campuses across the nation. Without them, it was said, the struggle with the costs of basic needs affects students’ academic performance and mental health. - MCC operates a Food Pantry on both its Lowell and Bedford campuses.

It has also been reported that nearly 4 million U.S. college students are raising children while getting a degree and that more than a third of those students attend community colleges. - Middlesex Community College is one such college.

Jonathan Crockett, the MCC Coordinator of Essential Needs & Community Resources, closely oversees and works hands-on in the operation of the MCC Lowell Campus Food Pantry and the Bedford Campus Food Pantry. 

Image left: Jonathan Crockett (center) with Bedford Rotary President Al Roscoe and Debi Malone, Rotary Team Leader for Hope for the Hungry at MCC’s Lowell Food Pantry. 

Both are available 24/7, he reports, serving a wide variety of student, staff, and faculty clients – single individuals, single parents, and families from the approximately 6500 overall college population.







Combined, the pantries serve 350-400 clients weekly, he says, about 80% of them in Lowell. There are no eligibility requirements and each pantry operates on an ”honor” system.  “Life circumstances,” he says, are what lead 30-40% of the MCC population to identify as being “food insecure. At the end of the day, we’re trying to help people have more resources.”

The Merrimack Valley Food Bank (MVFB) provides 90% of the pantry food supply. Jonathan and pantry staff make weekly order selections on Thursdays for pick up the following Wednesday. 







In the last eight months, from June through January, MVFB has supplied more than 20 tons of food items to MCC. “Without them, we wouldn’t really exist,” said Jonathan. Our ability to support our community is largely due to them.”







The upcoming Hope for the Hungry meal-packing, coordinated and guided by our packing partner, Meals of Hope, focuses on addressing food insecurity locally. It relies on volunteer participation to fill, weigh, seal, and box the beans and rice meals we’ll be packing. Click on HOPE FOR THE HUNGRY to sign up and spend a fun and rewarding couple of hours on one of the 10-person packing teams. You could be working side-by-side with volunteers from Middlesex Community College. And, what you pack could be part of the 1000 meal packages MCC will receive for distribution through their Food Pantry program.