Marywood University News

Feeding Our Neighbors in Need

When the pandemic hit, many support staff employees were furloughed and, for the first time, many found it necessary to take advantage of food giveaways. Dr. Christopher Speicher, Associate Professor in the School of Business and Global Innovation at Marywood University, spearheaded the effort to bring a truck directly to Marywood to make the process easier and more accessible. He always demonstrated the core value of service selflessly, with a smile and a kind word for all, getting more Marywood volunteers involved with the process. 

Dr. Speicher has been involved with Friends of the Poor for its Thanksgiving and other events for more than ten years. The mission of Friends of the Poor is to ease the burden of those living in poverty and enhance the quality of life for all who live in low-to moderate income communities. Founded by the late Sister Adrian Barrett IHM in 1984, and sponsored by the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scranton, Pa., the ministry brings together in friendship those who have the desire to give with those in need of assistance.

At the height of the pandemic, Dr. Speicher sent an email to faculty and staff at Marywood University to see if more volunteers would help out at additional food giveaways. He said,” As the number of our regular volunteers dropped off due to people’s fears, the number of Marywood volunteers seemed to increase.”

What began as a once-a-week event, soon turned into two days, and then three days a week. In addition to food giveaways at announced locations, volunteers took any remaining food and donations and delivered them door-to-door, serving an additional 500 or more families. 

Friends of the Poor's 45th Annual Thanksgiving Program is underway, featuring a Thanksgiving Dinner on Tuesday, November 23, 2:30-5:30 p.m., at the Scranton Cultural Center, 420 North Washington Avenue, Scranton, and a Drive-Thru Giveaway on Wednesday, November 24, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the Armed Forces Reserve, 3401 Olyphant Avenue, Scranton. (Day-of Registration only)

Image: Dr. Speicher (far left) encouraged other members of the Marywood community to volunteer in food giveaways at the height of the pandemic.