Written by Kate Harner
Willimantic, Conn. - On Nov. 23, Eastern Connecticut State University will host its fifth annual "Day of Giving" Thanksgiving dinner for community members who are patrons of local soup kitchens and other social service agencies. The Thanksgiving meal will take place from noon to 2 p.m. in Hurley Hall, located on Eastern's North Campus.
The Day of Giving was started by Jason Budahazy '09 in 2007. This year, members of Eastern's student clubs People Helping People and Best Buddies, led by Center for Community Engagement (CCE) staff, have organized the event. They have enlisted community-wide support from Eastern's administration, housing staff, student clubs and organizations, Chartwells Dining Services, the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Windham school system, the Windham Housing Authority, Ted's IGA, the Willimantic Food Co-Op, Highland Park of Coventry, Plainfield's Better Value, East Hampton's Stop & Shop, the East Brook Mall, Main Street Café, the Lebanon Green Market and others.
The project consists of two parts. The first is a large-scale food drive that takes place in the local community as well as on the Eastern campus. The last food drives will take place at East Hampton's Stop & Shop from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Nov. 18, as well as Plainfield's Better Value from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 19. All food items collected go to the Northeast Food Collaborative, which consists of local food charities such as the Covenant Soup Kitchen, Access Agency, Catholic Charities and others.
The second part of Day of Giving is a full-course Thanksgiving meal complete with all the trimmings for members of the Willimantic/Windham community who otherwise would not be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner. Chartwells Dining Services will provide the food. Members of Eastern's student clubs, as well as Eastern's administration, faculty and staff, will volunteer at the event.
"Eastern's Day of Giving is a special event because it is student-driven," said Scott Nolan '12, a political science major from Windsor Locks and one of the coordinators of this year's Day of Giving. "It could not be possible without the help of several key professionals and crucial departments here at Eastern, such as the CCE under its director, Kimberly Silcox; Eastern's AmeriCorps VISTAs Brittney Cava '12 and Kristina Scherber; the student club People Helping People; overwhelming support from the University; and especially the ECSU Foundation, Inc., without which this event would not be possible."
For more information regarding the Day of Giving, contact the CCE at firstname.lastname@example.org.