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Local soup kitchen hosts Eastern’s annual Day of Giving

Published on November 27, 2020

Local soup kitchen hosts Eastern’s annual Day of Giving

Facilities staff from Eastern deliver food to Covenant

Kimberly Clark, executive director of Covenant Soup Kitchen

Volunteer Judy Thompson packages meals to go.

The Covenant Soup Kitchen in collaboration with Eastern Connecticut State University distributed hundreds of Thanksgiving meals on Nov. 25 to Willimantic community members in need. As part of Eastern’s 14th annual Day of Giving, the meals were donated by the ECSU Foundation and Eastern’s food service provider Chartwells.

In lieu of the buffet-style meal that typically occurs in Eastern’s dining facility, Hurley Hall, the event was relocated this year to the parking lot outside of Covenant at 220 Valley Street, where soup kitchen staff and volunteers distributed pre-prepared hot meals to go.

Five hundred meals in total were donated; 250 of which were delivered cold to local organizations including churches and the Willimantic Housing Authority. All meals included microwaveable containers filled with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce, wheat roll, apple pie slice and cookie.

As in previous Day of Giving events, the food is prepared and donated by Chartwells, whereas the ECSU Foundation purchased the turkeys. 

“Since 2007, Eastern has provided a traditional, nourishing Thanksgiving meal to local families who might otherwise not enjoy the holiday,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. Considering the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, she added, “I am pleased that we will again be providing a hot Thanksgiving meal for local residents. I know that the Town of Windham appreciates our generosity, even more so during these unprecedented times.  

“I want to thank Vice President Ken DeLisa and Tom Piascik, regional director for Chartwells, for their continued support of this important event,” continued Núñez. “Supporting the community has never been more important and I am proud that Eastern has stepped up again.”

The Day of Giving began in 2007 as a community service project organized by Jason Budahazy ’09 and has been maintained by volunteers of Eastern’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) with support from the ECSU Foundation and Chartwells Food Service.

Written by Michael Rouleau