Return to Headlines

Gallagher, McCarthy Middle School Students and Staff Awarded Rotary ‘Service Above Self’ Award

Project 300-Chelmsford Public Schools


Thomas Gallagher, a  seventh and eighth grade mathematics teacher, along with the McCarthy Middle School staff and students, were presented the Charles and Carla Keen ‘Service Above Self’ Award by the Chelmsford Rotary Club for its efforts with the Project 300 food drive on Friday afternoon.


Mr. Gallagher, along with English/Language Arts teacher Dana Courtney, science teacher Katie Hill and history teacher Eric Sullivan, accepted the honor in the lobby of the McCarthy Middle School, from Chelmsford Rotary Vice President Debbie Haywood, a former special education teacher at Chelmsford Public Schools; and Allen Thomas, President and former Principal at Chelmsford High School.


The McCarthy Middle School staff received the award for its efforts in coordinating Project 300, a Thanksgiving food drive initiative to benefit Merrimack Valley residents in need, which is currently in its 44th year. Though the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the effort, the McCarthy Middle School community has responded, collecting 8,000 non-perishable items on Friday, Nov. 20 alone, prompting Mr. Gallagher and staff to extend Project 300 into Monday, Nov. 23.


“We had 8,000 cans come in today (Friday), all on one day, which is just amazing,” Mr. Gallagher said. “So we’ve extended it into Monday.”


Mr. Thomas, who co-founded Project 300 in 1976, underscored the importance of the effort, particularly in 2020.


“To take on this year with all of the challenges, different schedules and so forth, it’s just great to see that it’s staying,” he noted. “It’s really important in a down time like this to keep it going because if you stop for a year, you lose the momentum. I think what they’ve done this year is particularly important.”


This year’s goal for Project 300, considering the Covid-19 pandemic, was to collect 15,000 non-perishable items for the Salvation Army of Lowell, which distributes them to area food banks and pantries.


Non-perishable food items will be accepted at the front and back entrances of the McCarthy Middle School through the end of Monday.