GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College is giving back this holiday season by providing free meals, food items and grocery gift cards to help students in need weather the upcoming winter break.

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“Our Trailblazer team shares a common charitable spirit and a desire to give back to the communities we live in and serve,” said L&C President Ken Trzaska. “This holiday season, we have a perfect opportunity to make an impact and start a tradition we can all be proud of.”

L&C students will be able to pick up food for themselves and their families from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday, Dec. 21, and Tuesday, Dec. 22, while supplies last, at one of three campus locations.

Students who are in need of meals should contact Alice Bunjan, Coordinator, Perkins Transition, Transfer & Recruitment, at abunjan@lc.edu by 1 p.m., Friday, Dec. 18, to confirm a pickup time and location –­ either the Godfrey Campus, N.O. Nelson Campus in Edwardsville, or Scott Bibb Center in Alton.

L&C team member volunteers will staff all three locations, so students can drive through for safe pickup. All those participating are asked to wear masks and observe COVID-19 precautions to keep everyone as safe as possible.

The college is collecting donations of non-perishable food items now through Friday, Dec. 18, to be included in the giveaway. Donations can be dropped off at any campus location: the Godfrey Campus, N.O. Nelson Campus, Scott Bibb Center, Bethalto Training Center, East St. Louis Higher Education Center, Tri-County Community Education Center in Jerseyville, and the Macoupin County Community Education Center in Carlinville.

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Head Chef Tim Weaver and Sous Chef Cliff Davis, of L&C Dining Services, were busy Monday and Tuesday, preparing nearly 400 frozen meals for the event, which is a part of L&C’s Trailblazers Give Back program. Meals are individually packaged and contain a protein, starch and vegetable. Family bundles (four meals), will also be available.

“I want to be a benefit to others in some way, especially in these difficult times,” Weaver said. “A good hot meal is like a hug. Not much hugging allowed these days, so I hope students will feel the love through the food!”

Lewis and Clark’s Trailblazer Snack Pantry opened on the Godfrey Campus in Fall 2018 to meet the immediate hunger needs of students, and allow them to focus on their academics. The college will be closed Dec. 18 through Jan. 3 for winter break, so the pantry will not be accessible.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Trailblazer team helping to expand the scope of free food for those in need this year,” said Bunjan, who helps coordinate the pantry’s efforts. “Trailblazers Give Back is an excellent way to do just that!”

Grocery gift cards, to be spent at local grocers, will also be included. These are being made possible by a gift from Pepsi, which helps support the Trailblazer Snack Pantry.

“Many of our team members already volunteer for missions in our communities, including food pantries,” Trzaska said. “The Trailblazer Snack Pantry has had a tremendous impact. Especially at a time when more families need the support, this endeavor was a natural next step.”

Any meals or items left over will be donated to local food pantries.

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