As she prepares to graduate this semester, Kristina Reindel, a Nursing major and Presidential Scholarship recipient, has faced her share of obstacles.
On top of working full time to finish her degree program, she’s also a new mom to her 10-month-old daughter, Frankie, and she’s trying to take care of her husband, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for testicular cancer.
Being pulled in three different directions, like the 33-year-old has been for a while now, has made it nearly impossible to ensure there was a hot meal on the table each night for dinner for her family. Reindel said they’ve been eating take out or fast food much more often than she would prefer simply because there wasn’t enough time in the day to cook.
“It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said on pursuing a degree. “I thought it was hard to begin with. Add a kid and it makes it that much harder. Then my husband got sick in January.”
That’s when Nichole Kang, Director of the Wellness Center, stepped in to try to help. She connected Reindel with an external organization called “Leanne’s Life Changing Fairies.” Founded by Leanne Moyer, of Berks County, in November 2020, the nonprofit organization provides free, hot meals, clothing and personal items to those in need, including MCCC students.
“They don't turn anyone down for support,” said Kang. “Individuals in need do not need to live in Pottstown and can be in the surrounding area. They can help with food, clothing, and toiletry items and deliver to homes.”
Moyer knew she could help Reindel from the moment they first spoke.
“I’ve probably talked to her between five or six times today. We’ve been back and forth to her house dropping off stuff. Her problem is the meals, and we took care of that,” she said. “We’re going to make sure she has a good, home-cooked meal at least four to five times a week, and stuff to freeze, so she won’t have to worry about cooking.”
Moyer started the program after her best friend first became homeless and later died from addiction. She wanted to launch the group to help people in need like her friend, she said. Her organization has grown overtime. There are now about 40 volunteer fairies who help and pay for everything out of their own pockets or through donations.
“I don’t do this for a profit,” said Moyer. “I started with helping a few people who had cancer. I also serve meals on High Street every Saturday to between 50 and 100 people in need. Everything from toiletries to clothes and shoes.”
Reindel, who completes the Nursing program this month, and has a job lined up at Paoli Hospital this fall, has been floored by the generosity.
“She does this out of the kindness of her heart to give back to the community,” she said of Moyer. “She has been awesome!”
Connecting students with internal and external organizations for help is just one example of how the Wellness Center can help.
Aligned with MCCC’s holistic approach to student support and success, the Wellness Center offers comprehensive assistance for individual needs, expanding some of MCCC’s existing programs and adding new support services. It opens its doors at Pottstown Campus officially this fall.
“There will be an educational space to provide wellness programming to students and staff/faculty, and meeting space where students can get help for their non-academic needs from a resource coach and connect with peers,” Kang said. “We’ll also have private space for in-person mental health therapy provided by partner organizations, which will be available to both students and community members.”
The onsite services will augment the existing online services that are available at no cost to all students, which includes asynchronous chat and live telehealth therapy.
The Wellness Center will house MCCC’s Stock Up for Success food pantry with refrigerators for produce and dairy products, as well as freezers. The pantry also includes toiletries and personal care items.
“With the expanded pantry space, we’ll be able to increase the food offerings,” said Kang, noting that MCCC will collaborate with Gwynedd Mercy University on a food insecurity project, receiving food from the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities and Manna on Main Street.
The Wellness Center will create a convenient, central location for services, including Veterans Services, the ACT 101 Scholars Program and the Keystone Education Yields Success program, which will have offices in the Wellness Center.
For more information, contact Nichole Kang.