Every week, Trinity College’s Project PACKS (“providing academic change for kindling students”) delivers 40 backpacks filled with food to Hands on Hartford for distribution to students in Hartford who receive free or reduced price lunch. The purpose of the backpacks is to fill the gap for kids who may not have these consistent meals over the weekends.
This week, we caught up with Project PACKS leaders Alison Cofranceso ‘20 and Hadley Santana Queiroz ‘20 to hear about their work organizing the campus to contribute to Project PACKS. Alison and Hadley both agreed that being a contributor to the Backpack Nutrition Program at Hands on Hartford has helped them feel connected in the Hartford community — in fact, they said Trinity is the largest outside contributor to the Backpack program.
“There’s something really tangible about packing 40 backpacks full of food that are going directly to kids in Hartford. We’re the largest outside contributor to the Backpack Nutrition Program, and I think it’s really important not only to be giving back to the community that we’re in, but giving back in a way where we’re relied upon.” – Hadley Santana Queiroz ’20
As Project PACKS leaders, Hadley and Alison have been able to engage many other groups on campus like the Chapel Singers, the CLEO fraternity, and other Greek Organizations. Every Fall, the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement partners with the Chapel Council to organize the Chapel Formal fundraiser which results in a large number of small donations. Then, in the Spring Project PACKS asks each Greek organization to sponsor a week’s worth of food and potentially help pack the backpacks.
“I’ve had Project PACKs and other jobs and projects that have had me taking the bus and walking around Hartford since my first semester. I love the city more than I expected I would, and since I’m from a college town myself I think those connections between a college and a community are so important.” – Alison Cofrancesco ’20
Due to their hard work organizing others on campus, they’re at a fantastic level of volunteers this semester, and they’ve even had campus organizations reach out to them to come back and volunteer their time packing backpacks. Soon they’ll be working on passing leadership to the next class before they graduate.
Thank you to community partner Bianca Almanzar at Hands on Hartford! To get involved in Project PACKS on campus, contact Alison and Hadley, and to learn more about donating items directly to the Hands on Hartford Backpack Nutrition Program, visit the Hands on Hartford website.