When she was approached by Lizzy Moore to help communicate with students in need, SMC counselor Sara Nieves-Lucas was taken back to her childhood.
“The first thing I remembered when I heard about the Meal Project was not having food growing up, and how we took advantage of provided services,” Sara said. “There was this old man named Michael. He’d go through the streets of our neighborhood. He knew a lot of the parents had gotten laid off and so he’d honk his horn and provide us with quarters, and food.” The conversation “was also a reminder of how we are here not just to keep our students healthy, but to also keep them in school. Having a full belly will allow them to continue their education.”
“Absolutely critical” is how Sara describes the need of students’ receiving meals at home. COVID-19 led to students losing jobs and their family members losing jobs. “Even under normal circumstances,” she said, “students come to see a counselor not just for academics. The conversation will turn to personal matters like ‘I’m having problems at home’ or there’s domestic abuse. COVID-19 has impacted their lives — there’s a lack of resources, of technology. It’s good to feel like we can be there for them.”