The Holy Cross Community Celebrates Thanksgiving by Giving Back

During the Thanksgiving season, the College of the Holy Cross will be supporting local schools and community groups with all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Student Program for Urban Development (SPUD) are holding food drives across the College’s departments and offices to put together Thanksgiving Baskets full of holiday food. The baskets will be given to families of the Nativity School of Worcester, an all-scholarship middle school serving boys in grades 5-8 from the City's most vulnerable neighborhoods. The drive began last year as a part of a Community Based Learning class, “Leadership, Religion, and Social Justice,” taught by Susan Crawford-Sullivan, associate professor of sociology and anthropology.

“Alex Pagan-Mejia ’15 and I were inspired to start this project in order to promote an awareness of hunger in our community, especially among low-income families with school-age children,” Sarah Curran ’16 says of the project. “We mobilized the Holy Cross community to provide every family at the Nativity School with a holiday meal.” The project was so well received that those involved asked SPUD to take on the food drive in order to continue it into the future. “This year,” Curran says, “our goal is to make 61 Thanksgiving baskets, which will then be distributed by Holy Cross students to the families.”

The College’s Inter-house Council will be gathering food for its own Thanksgiving Basket event with the goal to donate baskets filled with canned goods, bread, gift cards for the purchase of a turkey, and other Thanksgiving goods to the South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Corporation (SWNIC).  These baskets will be distributed to South Worcester families in need to help celebrate the holidays and support the community. The council hopes to gather enough food for 30 families, each residence hall on campus encouraged to create one to two baskets. In the past, other College offices have also helped out by putting together baskets as well.

“Coming from a lower middle class family, I remember having a big smile on my face when they handed my mom the frozen turkey,” Tony Van ’16 comments recalling a similar drive that took place in his middle school. “Now I am able to give to those who need it most and I hope they have the same smile I had.” Van has worked with the Inter-house Council for two years and hopes the food drive will continue for years to come. The hall councils in each residence on campus are encouraged to fundraise money to buy Thanksgiving items, but students are also welcome to donate money and food on their own.

In addition to these events, the College’s Lobby Shop is collecting food donations for the Worcester County Food Bank during Holy Cross Dining’s “Eat, Drink & Be Thankful.” The goal is to gather 250 pounds of donated food goods. Dining will also be donating turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, gravy, and rolls to Chandler Elementary School in Worcester.