Orgs feed students left behind on holiday

Comet Cupboard, other groups focus on feeding students

In anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, organizations around campus are taking initiative to provide support for students who are unable to return home during the Thanksgiving break.

Amber Brown, the coordinator for Comet Cupboard — UTD’s food pantry — said the organization is preparing itself for a large volume of customers over the holiday.

“The pantry is low in stock, but we also collect most of our donations during (this time) because it’s the holiday season and people are willing to give,” Brown said.

The Cupboard is also holding a food drive on Nov. 18 during its Hunger Games, an annual event with games and competitions that celebrates National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

“What we try to do during that week is to provide different opportunities to raise awareness about the issue and also to encourage donations to the Cupboard,” Brown said.

The Cupboard will remain open over the Thanksgiving holiday to cater to the needs of students who will remain on campus.

Other organizations on campus are playing a role in this effort. University Commons, in conjunction with the International Center’s Intercultural Programs, will host a traditional Thanksgiving meal for students. The event, which has been happening since 2004, will take place in Residence Hall North this year and is open to any student with a Comet Card.

“Each year, we look at how we can add educational aspects to the dinner,” Kaytie Farrell, assistant director for residential life, said. “We want to educate our international students on what the Thanksgiving holiday is in America. This year, we’re looking at bringing in different cultural holidays that are similar to Thanksgiving.”

Since its inception, more and more students have come to the event. Last year, for example, more than 400 were in attendance. University Commons said it has planned this year’s event to accommodate even more guests.

Students will come to Residence Hall North, go through the buffet line and can have their meals in the several seating areas set up — each with different activities. Vegetarian options will also be available.

“We usually have the traditional parade on one TV and a football game on another and we have some small activities, but (it’s truly) a time for food and fellowship,” Farrell said.

Farrell said she hopes the event will help students gain a sense of camaraderie.

“Not everyone is able to travel home for the holidays,” she said. “We want to provide an outlet for students so they have something to do that day and so they can share a Thanksgiving meal.”

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