Story by Kara Wheeler, Reporter
Photos courtesy of Kara Wheeler
As Thanksgiving nears and a widespread sense of gratitude ensues, the Aquinas College community calls to mind not only the holiday’s, “reflection on all our blessings,” but also, “[to] think about how we can best serve those in need,” according its statement.
With Aquinas’s calling of members to, “come together to help those in need,” both the Campus Ministry and Human Resources teams held a Thanksgiving Basket Drive from November 9th to November 19th, in an effort to feed families who needed it most on a holiday that centers around satiety and time with loved ones.
Fourteen families were identified as eligible to receive baskets filled with both non-perishable items and gift cards to purchase perishable items, the latter donated by the Aquinas Athletic Department.
Campus Ministry and Human Resources arranged teams, led by appointed leaders, that sponsored one or more families of two or more people.
One of the team leaders, Aquinas Professor of Education, Michelle Anderson, believes this year’s drive holds added importance in light of social restrictions placed on society due to COVID.
“Last year COVID forced many to work and take classes from home, meaning limited connections with our campus.” Anderson said. “This year was an opportunity to celebrate being back together with our AQ community and demonstrate with our actions what it truly means to be a Saint.”
Inspiration for the drive struck from Lynda Group, one of the team leaders.
“Lynda Group wanted to provide an opportunity for staff and students to participate in a Thanksgiving Drive,” another team leader, Brianna Haarer said. “She reached out to different Aquinas departments to help coordinate the drive.”
The donated items were picked up from various locations around campus and delivered to the Baxter Community Center to be assembled into baskets, signaling the end of the drive, but the beginning of a Thanksgiving of nourished families.
Group spoke of the participation in the drive that aided to its success: “The participation was phenomenal. The campus leaders and their teams collected food donations for the neighborhood families that surpassed all our expectations, including those of Baxter Community Center.” A total of 66 people were fed this Thanksgiving because of the drive.
Fourteen families were remembered on this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, which serves as a reflection of the intricacies of charitable giving as an action that affects both those who give and those that receive.