Students donate over 3,000 lbs of quarantine snacks in food drive

By Lucy Townend

Riley Board
Due to a large increase in donations during the initial days of the drive, Crockford had to coordinate with other students to set up additional donation sites throughout campus.

When Middlebury students arrived this semester, their rooms were full of snacks to tide them over through room quarantine. But as the dining halls opened and students could pick up treats from MiddXpress or meals from The Grille, many of those snacks were left uneaten — about 3,000 pounds of them. 

Emma Crockford ’22.5 set out to make sure that food didn’t go to waste, and started a food drive to bring those 3,000 pounds of food to the Addison County Teen Center, The Charter House shelter and Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects in Addison County (HOPE).

The food drive began in Starr Hall, the residential building where Crockford lives. 

“I realized that no one in Starr was using their food bags, and a lot of it was ending up in the hallways or in kitchens,” Crockford said. 

Once the donations in Starr Hall started piling up, Crockford asked friends Ciara Burke ’22, Trey Atkins ’22.5 and Grace Kellogg ’22 to help set up more stations around campus. Every few days, the organizers would collect food and store it in Crockford’s room. 

“I don’t think Emma or I really expected it to take off,” Atkins said. “We’re all so happy that it did.” 

Crockford initially intended to donate the food solely to the Addison County Teen Center, where she has worked in the past. The center focuses on providing safe after-school programming for teens in the community. 

“I initially called the teen center in town because I thought that I would only have four or five bags,” Crockford said. “But I ended up having hundreds and hundreds of bags.”

Once the organizers realized that the donations would greatly exceed the amount that the center could accept, Crockford began to reach out to more organizations in the area, including HOPE and the Charter House of Middlebury. Both organizations provide services to low-income families in the area. 

“Thanks to a concerted student effort, 2,550 pounds of food was collected, and the Center for Community Engagement delivered this bounty to HOPE’s food shelf,” HOPE said in an Instagram post on March 5. 

Crockford credits Liz Cleveland, program administrator at the Center for Community Engagement, for her role in delivering the food to organizations during campus quarantine. The donations ended up totaling more than seven car-fulls of food.

“The most rewarding part of the food drive was working with Emma, who also was surprised at the massive amount of food students dropped off,” Cleveland said in an email to The Campus. “She handled it all cheerfully upbeat, rallying friends with a ‘can-do’ attitude and thanking everyone around her as she went.” 

Atkins said that finding the will to act in the face of a challenge is the hardest part of accomplishing an action like this, but ultimately makes it rewarding. 

“That little action is the most difficult thing about a lot of things in life,” he said. “To show that example to the campus right off of the bat sets the bar high. It just makes me so proud to be [Emma’s] friend and be able to help her.”