Diversity and Community Engagement
The University of Mississippi

Community Chat – Mary Leary & Camie Bianco

“There’s definitely a need in our community, even though we may not see it.” -Camie Bianco

For this episode of Community Chats, we are joined by Camie Bianco and Mary Leary, co-founders and board members of Lovepacks. Lovepacks is a nonprofit organization that provides food on weekends and holidays during the school year for school-aged children in our community who experience hunger. Camie and Mary discuss the mission of the organization as well as some of the greatest challenges and rewards they experience through the work they do.

Camie and Mary founded Lovepacks in 2010 after seeing similar programs in other states and realizing the need for a supplemental program in Oxford. On weekends and holidays, dozens of packages are delivered to hungry students from both the Oxford and Lafayette County School Districts. This is all done with a team of volunteers comprised of special education students who pack the boxes and liaisons who deliver the packs to the children. Camie and Mary both agree that one of the biggest rewards of the organization is working with the student packers whom they regard as the “heart of Lovepacks.”

Since its inception, Lovepacks has experienced immense support from the community either through monetary donations or in-kind donations, and all donations go towards buying food and supplies. However, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s board has been faced with the challenge of providing food to students while still retaining anonymity, an important aspect of their service. As they work through this, Lovepacks is still committed to providing food to students and combating hunger in our community.

If you want to get involved with Lovepacks, either through donations or volunteering, you can contact them at lovepacks@gmail.com or through their Facebook page “Oxford Lovepacks.”

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