By Karissa Gaughan – 1851 Contributor
Students and staff prepare sandwiches for the CDCW. Photos by Karissa Gaughan
Volunteer Ventures MA has partnered with Lasell in support of the Community Day Center of Waltham (CDCW), by servicing a sandwich makers program on campus. The program, meeting on select dates throughout each month, strives to feed Waltham’s homeless community and teach students more about food and housing instability.
Individuals or groups can sign up through Laser Involvement and meet in the upper lobby of Valentine Dining Hall. A QR code is available for students to scan and receive volunteer credits through the university.
Students and cafeteria staff work together in making 40 bagged lunches to be distributed at the Community Center to Waltham’s homeless community. Run like an assembly line, participants are in charge of making ham and turkey sandwiches, as well as veggie wraps with a drink and a bag of chips.
Byrd Hughes, Associate Director of the Center for Community-Based Learning (CCBL), picks up the lunches the next morning and brings them to CDCW to distribute to those in the program.
The first offering of the Sandwich Makers Program was in the fall of 2021 for the Men’s Lacrosse team. Hughes said it was such a positive experience she scheduled five more dates during the spring semester to involve the wider campus community.
“We know that food insecurity is a big issue in society as a whole… On college campuses, we know that students struggle with it as well,” said Hughes. “Academics is important, but also understanding the role that what they’re doing here plays in larger society… I think it’s really important for institutions like us to create the spaces for students to gain awareness about what the inequities and injustices are that they are stepping into, and what is the role that they can play in disrupting those things.”
CDCW is the only community drop in center for those living in the Metrowest. Students can also volunteer directly with CDCW as they have in the past.
“It’s great to reestablish this connection while also developing our new relationship with Volunteer Ventures,” Hughes said.
Volunteer Ventures MA aims to assist its partners in reaching out to help their communities. The nonprofit-based organization communicated with the CCBL at the start of the academic year, and although the organization is fairly new, it has been supporting the CDCW through a sandwich-making program since May 2020.
Remaining dates this semester for Tuesday’s Sandwich Makers Program include April 11 and 25, starting at 3 p.m. All classes and majors are welcome to participate. COVID-19 protocols and safe handling practices will be followed during the event.