News, On Campus

BC Dining Launches Donation Program for Families in Need

Boston College Dining Services launched a new donation program, Curbside for a Cause, earlier this month. Through the program, customers can order family meal packs for pick up, and BC Dining prepares and donates an equivalent meal to local families in need.

Customers can place their order for the $22 Family Meal Deal, which varies each night, from noon to 6 p.m. on weekdays by phone or through the GET Mobile app. At the designated time of pick up, customers drive up to the College Road entrance to McElroy, and a BC Dining staff member brings the meal out to their car. 

At the end of each week, BC Dining staff members calculate how many meals they sold, and then determine how many meals they are able to donate based on that number. The donated meals are sent to organizations in Allston, the McNamara Senior Living Community, a senior residence, and the West End House, a youth development organization. 

“So if you pick one for a family of four, that’s four meals we make [to donate] the following week,” said Emery. 

The program offers a unique menu selection each night, including items like rotisserie style chicken and sides, or beef tacos with churros for dessert. 

The idea for Curbside for a Cause emerged in early May when BC Dining managers were brainstorming ways that would allow them to continue providing service to the members of the BC community while also donating food to those in need, said Beth Emery, director of BC Dining. 

“We started talking about these meals to go, which lots of restaurants are doing right now, and they’re doing it for families for four,” she said. “We just sort of went back and forth and then touched base with our colleagues and Government Affairs and they loved it.”

Curbside for a Cause operates out of Mac, the only dining hall currently in operation on campus. 

Dining staff pack the frozen donation meals in to-go containers so that customers can easily microwave them at home. The packaging also allows centers to easily distribute the donated meals among those in need, Emery said. 

Since its inception three weeks ago, the program continues to receive a steady uptick in buyers, allowing BC Dining to donate an increasing number of meals, Emery said.

Michael Forcier, general manager of BC Dining, estimated that he and his team sell about 25 family meal packs a day on average. He said his goal is that they will soon reach an average of 40 meals per day.

“People are just hearing about us [and] calling us because they know it’s such a great thing we’re doing here,” he said.

Forcier also praised the program for its convenience and affordability for families. Each meal pack is sold for $22, an option less expensive than a meal for four would cost at a grocery store, according to Forcier. 

“Everybody’s happy, everybody’s thrilled and thankful and blessed that we’re doing this,” Forcier said. “They’re [also] appreciative that they’re not having to cook.”

Forcier, who interacts with buyers when they pick up their meal packs, said they often express excitement about the idea that, by buying their own meal pack, they are able to help others in need. 

“You’re sitting down with your family of young children and explain to them that by eating this meal we’re also feeding another family of four,” Forcier said. “How is that not a great message to share with your young children?”

Featured Image by Maddy Romance / Heights Editor

June 19, 2020