MU Sponsors Local Families for Thanksgiving


(Left to right) Sophomore Men’s Lacrosse players Sean Wallace, Jared Pelliccione, and Matt Coates purchasing food for a family in need last November

Matt Coates, Reporter

Misericordia University is sponsoring local families to provide Thanksgiving meals. The program is coordinated by the office for Mission, Ministry, and Service.

Lindsey Riddell, assistant director, said this is an extremely important sponsorship.

“We know the need for food is significant in our area,” Riddell said. “As of September 2022, the child food insecurity rate for Luzerne County was 21.5%, which is 4% higher than national average and the fifth highest county in Pennsylvania.”

To participate in this event, students can fill out a Thanksgiving Sponsor Form, located on the MyMu portal. Families can be sponsored by departments, offices, clubs, organizations, and teams.

Riddell urges students and organizations able to donate to do so.

“I believe meeting families is so important because it fights the stigma of food insecurity,” she said. “The people we are helping are just like us but may have fallen on hard times or just need a little bit of extra support.”

This program has been in place for 20 years.  Riddell remembers it taking place while she was a student here, before graduating in 2006.

The best part about the sponsorship, according to Riddell, is the ability to meet the families.

“Many of the sponsors may be living paycheck to paycheck and are all only one crisis away from being in a similar situation as the families we are helping,” she said. “I believe it is a humbling experience and a lesson in human connection.

“So, our goal is not only to help feed local families, but also for Misericordia to meet the family personally, which fights the stigma of food insecurity in our community,” she added.

This is why Riddell calls this event a “sponsorship and not a drive.” The goal is not just to collect money and give food to the families. The most fulfilling part of this sponsorship is meeting the families and making a connection to do good.

Each group or individual can sponsor a one to two-person family for $40 or a three to five-person family for $55.

Last year, the Misericordia men’s lacrosse team sponsored a family when the coaches took a few first-year students shopping so they could buy food for the family.

“It felt great shopping for a family in need,” said sophomore business administration healthcare management major Sean Wallace. “It’s always great when you get to make a difference.”

For those interested in participating, Riddell said there is still time to get involved.

“We have about 20 families left that need sponsors. Donating a few dollars goes a long way to help,” she said. “Anyone can go on the portal to sponsor a family or stop by the Mission, Ministry and Service office (Banks 112) if they have questions.”

There are plenty of options available for people to donate. On the request form, Dallas/Shavertown/Trucksville, Harvey’s Lake/Noxen/Monroe township, and Wilkes-Barre areas are listed as available.

Those sponsoring families can choose where they are willing and able to deliver or they can send a gift card to the family in need.

The sponsor form also indicates many Spanish-speaking families are being sponsored and asks for people who speak Spanish to help communicate with those families.

Those interested in participating are asked to log onto the MyMu student portal and search “Thanksgiving Sponsor Request Form.”