Health Students at NECC Provide Crockpots to Needy
HAVERHILL -- Students in Northern Essex Community College Professor Jacqueline Dick’s Introduction to Public Health course addressed food insecurity in the Merrimack Valley this semester, collecting close to 100 new crockpots to donate to needy local residents, along with a crockpot cookbook the class created.
The service-learning project was designed to connect community service with the course curriculum.
“This is the first time we did this project, and I’m thrilled with the results,” Dick said. “The students were truly engaged.”
Students in the course study assessment, policy development and assurance. They were asked to research food insecurity in the Merrimack Valley; create an answer (access to crockpots and healthy, affordable recipes); and develop assurances (collecting crockpot donations and screening recipes).
The 31 students reached out to family, friends and employers to raise $1,500, plus donated crockpots. Many of the recipes in the cookbook are their own family favorites, including Spanish and Asian recipes, and they were all screened for affordability and nutritional value.
“I liked being part of a grass-roots movement,” said Jennifer Lucena of Chelmsford, a Public Health major. “I’m hoping these crockpots will benefit families who work long hours and can now come home to a home-cooked meal.”
The crockpots and recipe books were distributed to 10 nonprofit agencies across the Merrimack Valley.