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HCC professor, students provide Easter dinner at Salvation Army

March 30, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Hagerstown Community College Sociology student Branden Elliott serves the sweetest part of the Salvation Army's Good Friday meal, the dessert.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

A local professor at Hagerstown Community College put together an Easter dinner with his students at the Salvation Army on Friday.

Daniel Madron, who teaches sociology at HCC, said that he and his classes have been providing a Thanksgiving meal and an Easter meal for local residents for the last three years.

“We just kind of want to create some sort of normalcy for people,” he said. “Even though people might not be religious and celebrate Easter, they still know that Easter’s going on and still might have a big Sunday dinner, and for people who can’t afford that we want to be able to provide something similar to that.”

Madron, 29, also did work for the homeless while he was a professor at Howard Community College and as a student at Eastern University in Philadelphia

He said that the students’ outreach was different at Howard Community College.

“We actually would go out in Baltimore city and try to track down street homeless and then give them bag lunches,” he said. “In Hagerstown we don’t see the street homeless as much, but they know about these places.”

In putting the meal together, the students had to raise the money through donations to pay for everything except the hams, which Madron said were provided by the Salvation Army.

He said the students raised between $1,000 and $1,500, with Branden Elliott of Hagerstown raising about $150.

“I went around to about 25 or 30 different businesses” looking for donations, said Elliott, 25, who is in his first semester at HCC. “It was important to me for people to experience Easter dinner the way other people do.”

“It’s important for us to get involved in the community,” said Maria Pifer, 19, of Mercersburg, Pa., who is in her second semester at HCC and provided cakes for the meal. “We really need to get more young people involved, and this is a great way to do that.”

The meal began at 11 a.m., but people were already lined up out the door at 10:30 a.m.

Danny Gossard, 54, of Hagerstown said that such a meal means that “the Good Lord” was taking care of him.

“If you’re out of food, he’ll have people feed you,” he said.

Gary Miller, 57, of Hagerstown, added that Hagerstown has been more helpful to him than other places he has lived.

“If I wasn’t coming here, I probably wouldn’t eat,” he said.

Salvation Army workers also helped out with the meal along with the students and Madron.

Ruth Williams, kitchen manager for the organization, said that serving up meals on holidays like Easter “makes you humble.”

“I didn’t know there was such a need in Hagerstown until I came to work here,” she said. “Everybody that comes in is so thankful.”

Steve Elder, 49, of Hagerstown, said that he eats at the Salvation Army often and described the meal Friday as a “true blessing.”

“It verifies that there is good in the world at a time when many people are struggling,” he said. “It really warms your heart to see these young people at HCC who are our future pouring their love out into the community.”

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