Hanover moms offer home-cooked meals, care packages to students in isolation
Though 186 students are in off-campus isolation or quarantine as of Thursday, the group has so far received few requests.
A group of Hanover moms has made meals and care packages for students isolating locally off campus.
While students in isolation and quarantine may be feeling lonely, a group of Hanover moms has stepped up to ensure they do not go hungry.
In the wake of the College’s recent COVID-19 outbreak, a group of Hanover residents, primarily mothers of Dresden County School District students, have banded together to provide meals and other essentials to Dartmouth students in isolation and quarantine locally off campus.
Despite amassing the support of 30 individuals ready to deliver care packages or run errands, the group has so far received few requests. While the group was originally hoping to make deliveries to students on or off campus, the College has prohibited deliveries to impacted on-campus students, according to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence.
Uschi Kauffman, a Hanover community member and organizer of the group, said that the idea of helping students in a time of need came to her during a conversation with some other Dresden County School District moms about how grateful they were that their children were in school. Kauffman felt that the combined efforts of the College and its students to prevent and contain the spread of the virus have helped to keep the Hanover community safe. She said that offering meals, games, puzzles and other comforts to those in isolation and quarantine seemed like a way to repay Dartmouth students.
“Our kids are in school because [of what students] are doing,” she said. “We don't have to go out and take [two] COVID tests a week. You do, and you have all these rules and all these things that you have to follow [with] scrutiny on you. Frankly, you're just kids, and to ask all this of you is a lot. You should be acknowledged for that.”
Kauffman posted a message in the SAU 70 Facebook group, a page for parents, supporters and guardians of Dresden County School District students, asking if anyone else would be interested in helping out. Immediately, she said, community members began expressing support.
Mary Beth Stocken, another Hanover resident, said that when she saw Kauffman’s Facebook post, the decision to get involved was an easy one. Earlier in the pandemic, Stocken had been the administrator for an Upper Valley organization that made and donated 60,000 masks, and she said helping with this movement is a perfect way to continue aiding those in need.
When Stocken joined the team, Kauffman contacted her right away with a request from a group of students in off-campus isolation. Stocken prepared two meals, one of which was gluten-free, and drove them to where the students were living.
Gabe Kotsonis ’22, though not the recipient of Stocken’s meals, received a meal from another local mom. He is currently in quarantine off campus after two of his housemates tested positive for COVID-19, and he noted that fears of getting each other sick have kept them from using their kitchen. The delivered meal, he said, was a welcome break from a difficult situation.
“One of the moms just dropped off a bag with a tray of lasagna for us to cook ourselves and then some banana pudding and salad,” Kotsonis said. “We [were able to have] a nice home-cooked dinner, [which] we hadn't had in a while.”
In an email to The Dartmouth, Lawrence wrote that food delivery to on-campus students would not be allowed given the “extra precautions” the College is taking with allowing access to buildings that house potentially infectious students.
Lawrence added that while the College has not received requests from the group of community members to deliver non-food items to students on campus, the College is “open to exploring the idea if we can establish a safe and efficient delivery mechanism.”
Claire Macedonia ’24 spent five days in on-campus quarantine in the fall, and while she believes the College did everything they could to support her, she said “getting a [care] package would have been a game-changer.”
“It was so lonely and isolating for the time I was there, so if I had [received] a little piece of humanity, it would have really brightened my day,” she said.
Even after Kauffman’s contact information was distributed through various student group chats last week and in the daily “Vox Daily” email on Tuesday, the group had only received five requests as of Thursday.
“Some people are too prideful to ask for help,” Stocken said, noting that she and the other moms remain “more than happy” to assist any students in isolation or quarantine off campus with whatever they may need. In addition to offering meals and other items, members of the group are also able to make grocery runs for students and accept Venmo as a form of payment — but if all students need is a home-cooked meal, they would be delighted to offer it free of charge.