“Residents" of Lawton and Laird buildings at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield are coming together to make a difference in their community, especially to help children, and you may want to participate, too.

From Monday, Jan. 21, to Thursday, Jan. 24, Division of Education, Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute and Marshfield Labs will be in the midst of a food drive for the Marshfield Area United Way Nutrition on Weekends (NOW) program.

Besides collecting food (with cash donations also accepted), staff members will volunteer for a NOW food packing event that week.

“The ‘why’ comes back to supporting Jennifer and Marty Anderson’s efforts as United Way family drive chairs last fall,” said Dr. Jennifer Meece, who is spearheading the drive. Meece is director of the Integrated Research and Development Laboratory, Research Institute, and Jennifer Anderson is a Research Institute senior research associate at the Intgrated Research and Development Lab. Marty is Chief Growth Officer for Security Health Plan.

“Jennifer (Anderson) brought the idea of this NOW project up almost a year ago and it didn’t happen then, but it’s in our mission, vision and values of community engagement so the idea is coming to fruition,” Meece said. “Sometimes you need a good example of why you do things and Jennifer and Marty have given us that.”

The Research Institute continues to embrace NOW as a cause following its very successful soup fundraiser last fall with proceeds going to United Way. “And,” Meece said, “it would be great if we were as successful as Marshfield Medical Center’s cereal drive that raised more than 2,000 boxes last fall for this cause.

“Many of us don’t know what it’s like to have to go without and there is a lot of need in our communities. Ultimately it’s for the kids,” she said.

Food donations are in general decline once the holidays are over, so this effort will assure that this nutrition program has what it needs.

Currently, 362 children benefit from the program and attend schools in Auburndale, Granton, Greenwood, Loyal, Pittsville, Spencer, Stratford, Marshfield (Grant, Lincoln, Madison, Middle School, Nasonville, Washington and High School) and Marshfield Head Start.

Each child enrolled receives a supplemental food pack on Fridays before leaving school. Food packs are not intended to be the weekend’s meals but to help supplement other food provided by the family.

Greatest needs for the remaining 2018-19 school year are:

  • Jelly
  • Fruit/applesauce cups
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit snacks
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Animal crackers
  • Dried fruit (raisins/craisins)
  • Pretzels
  • Ziploc sandwich/snack bags

Donating is not restricted to Lawton and Lewis buildings. If you’d like to contribute, collection bins are located in the first floor Lawton Center reception-area desk and Erdman Lobby.