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O’Dowd Students Support Vulnerable Seniors: Transforming Lives with Healthy Food

One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is rising food scarcity and hunger for individuals and families across the United States.

The Mercy Brown Bag program has been operating for over 34 years, providing bags of fresh produce, healthy grains, canned goods, and lean protein to over 5,000 low-income Alameda County seniors every month.

Once the pandemic hit, Mercy Brown Bag had to change its model from one where seniors would pick up grocery bags at a site near their home, to home delivery. And many seniors who previously volunteered, staffing the bag pick-up sites, had to take a hiatus to protect their own health. Thankfully, O’Dowd students stepped into the breach.

Starting in March, 14 O’Dowd students have volunteered every Wednesday, cheerfully bagging and delivering groceries, contributing 280 hours of service, well beyond the required hours, to help keep Mercy Brown Bags running.

Krista Lucchesi, The Director of the Mercy Brown Bag program for the last 10 years, is an O’Dowd parent to junior Amalie Sorenson ’22.

The O’Dowd community is grateful that Krista has given our students this opportunity to meaningfully serve. Heeding our charism’s call to community in diversity, social justice, and strength of character, O’Dowd students are supporting vulnerable seniors in our community, giving love and care where it is most needed.


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