This June, AIC’s Rex’s Pantry initiative, a food and necessities pantry housed on campus, introduced the Rex’s Pantry Garden, a new program to serve the surrounding neighborhoods of Springfield. Approximately sixteen thousand Springfield residents live in a produce desert, where there is little to no access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods. Rex’s Pantry Garden seeks to alleviate this problem. With the support of AIC President Vince Maniaci, the Rex’s Pantry initiative was spearheaded by AIC’s Vice President for Marketing and Communications Robert Cole, in partnership with Jeff Bednarz ’19, AIC’s associate vice president for auxiliary services.
“I am proud to work with such an altruistic group of colleagues to build on the success of Rex’s Pantry and address what is a very real concern in Springfield,” says Cole. “Food insecurities have, unfortunately, long been a way of life for many families and individuals around the world. The Rex’s Pantry Garden is one small way AIC endeavors to help those in need.”
Volunteers from C&W Services, which provides grounds crew services to the College, helped transform the formerly vacant lot at the corner of Maynard and State Streets into a functioning urban garden.
The Rex’s Pantry Garden’s inaugural fall harvest included bush beans, pumpkins, red onions, swiss chard, and tomatoes. Staff and student volunteers will maintain the garden during the growing season.
Since it launched, Rex’s Pantry has supplied more than two thousand meals to the less fortunate in Springfield and collected thousands of pounds of canned goods and other living necessities.
IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, REX!
A class of third grade students from nearby Homer Street Elementary School visited the Rex’s Pantry Garden pumpkin patch, sponsored by C&W Services, on October 9, 2019. Each student got to “pick” his or her own pumpkin to use as part of a fall-themed math lesson before bringing it home with them at the end of the day.
Afterwards, volunteers from C&W Services delivered the remaining pumpkins to Homer Street Elementary School to ensure that students in all three third grade classes received one. In total, AIC provided more than one hundred pumpkins to students.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Hon ’16 and President Vince Maniaci both participated in the festivities alongside a number of AIC staff and students.
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