MU's Thanksgiving Efforts

By Kaitlyn Miller
Staff Writer

1,588… What do you think this number represents? The number of resident students on campus? Maybe the how many people skipped three or more classes last semester? Not even close. This number represents the number of families with children that the United Neighborhood Centers helped feed last Thanksgiving. The organization, along with many different community organizations, including Marywood, helped collect and distribute donated Thanksgiving Baskets to those who are in need of a substantial Thanksgiving Meal. The baskets consist of the various foods that are enjoyed by people across the country on this national holiday. They include a turkey, vegetables, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and of course, dessert. Last year, 350 baskets were delivered by various community organizations. This year, the distribution took place over four days beginning on November 22. Registration to receive a basket began in early November and in just four days, there had been 414 on site registrations, with 107 taking place in the first day alone. There have been a total of 707 registrations overall by various families in the community. Registration for baskets continued right up to the distribution date on November 25th.

According to Lea Dougherty, the Deputy Executive Director of the United Neighborhood Centers of Northeast Pennsylvania, “With these numbers this early in the registration process, we expect to far exceed our need for baskets from last year.” So, how does this pertain to Marywood? Or even you? Last year various clubs, organizations, sports teams, classes and departments across Marywood’s campus raised $2756.75 (equaling about 90 baskets) and collected 75 baskets for families in our surrounding community. “Marywood is out largest deliverer,” says Lea Dougherty, “I have never seen so many new families and the need for food from our food pantry alone than I have this year.” This will only slightly reflect the need for families in our area during the holiday season.

How can we help? What can we, as a University community, do? Campus Ministry works with the United Neighborhood Center every year to assist with this project. Staff members and students volunteer their time to organize forms that are distributed campus wide. Groups on campus can contact Campus Ministry to either give a monetary donation, which volunteers from the office go and shop and fill baskets, or recieve a shopping list to purchase the items for their particular basket. On November 22, the baskets were distributed to the families that United Neighborhood Centers assigned to Campus Ministry. Last year, five sports teams, 25 clubs, 16 departments, 15 classes and 19 organizations campus-wide donated to the Thanksgiving Adopt a Family Program.

For more information, contact the Campus Ministry/Collegiate Volunteers Office.