For many people, the holidays are a time for abundant feasts and family traditions. However, for some families, the holidays are a struggle and providing a Thanksgiving meal can be challenging.
Marywood has partnered up with the United Neighborhood Centers (UNC) for the Thanksgiving Adopt-a-Family project, which aims to help families in Northeast Pennsylvania in need during the upcoming holiday season.
“We’ve been participating in the Adopt-a-Family project since it started about 33 years ago,” said Sister John Michele, assistant director of Campus Ministry.
The UNC is a non-profit and voluntary organization in Northeastern Pennsylvania dedicated to assessing and helping meet the needs of low income families, youth, and elderly since 1923, according to uncnepa.org.
Students, faculty, and staff were eligible to sign up individually or with a club to sponsor a family, which costs approximately $50.
There was also the option of making a monetary donation of any amount, which went toward making more baskets that campus ministry delivered.
Funding for the Thanksgiving Food Baskets comes strictly from donations and community members.
Last year, nearly 1,500 families received Thanksgiving Food baskets, and it’s expected that number will rise again this year.
“During the holiday season, when we are showered with gifts, warmth and hearty meals, we tend to forget our struggling neighbors. Adopt-a-Family puts things into perspective and is a great way to truly live out the values of the season of giving,” said Jeanne Russo, junior pre-physician major, and member of Marywood’s Hunger Group, an organization dedicated to working on hunger and the issues of homelessness in the local community.
This year, Marywood was able to collect and donate 205 baskets.
However, the effort to help those in need does not end with the holiday season.
“We have an ongoing food drive throughout the year here at Marywood. It’s one way that we as a community keep the giving spirit going all year round,” said Kelsey Savka, junior middle level Math, English, and Special Education major, and Hunger Group member.
“Every opportunity we have to give to those who are less fortunate than we are is a good opportunity,” said Sr. John.