Rider Gives Thanks and Gives Back
Thanksgiving is in the air as both the Lawrenceville and Westminster Choir College campuses are coming together, not only to celebrate, but also to serve the surrounding community. Faculty and students are collecting and donating food items to be distributed to families in need from the Mercer County area as part of the annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive.
“Last year, we were able to feed 300 families,” said Annie Pasqua, assistant director of Campus Life for Service Learning. “It was amazing to see everyone work together and hopefully we can do the same this year.”
Nonprofit organizations in the area need more than 400 meals for families this year. However, this number is not discouraging to Pasqua as offices, clubs, organizations, residence halls, Greek houses and Athletics are all getting involved to contribute to the cause. The food collected will be divided into baskets containing enough food for a Thanksgiving meal and one additional meal for each family. The baskets will be donated to local nonprofits such as HomeFront, Grace Community Church of Trenton and Womanspace, as well as others.
Food will be collected until Wednesday, November 17, when the baskets will be assembled from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the Cavalla Room on the Lawrenceville campus, or from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Dean of Students’ office on the Westminster Campus.
Both campuses will reach out to the community through other activities this Thanksgiving season as well. Members of the University community will gather in the BLC Cavalla Room for the annual Rider University Thanksgiving Luncheon, on Thursday, November 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Students are asked to bring a canned-food item to attend, while faculty and staff are requested to donate six dollars per ticket. The donations will be given to a local agency to help feed families in need for Thanksgiving.
“The luncheon is an opportunity for community members from both campuses to gather and to build a university family,” said Mary Ann Somaine, assistant dean of students and the coordinator of the event. Faculty, staff and students will enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal while members of the Rider community will speak about what they have to be thankful for this season. This year, three students will be speaking in order to “increase student involvement,” according to Somaine.
Students and Faculty can register for the luncheon in the SRC Ticket Booth from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Lawrenceville campus. Sign-ups on the Westminster Campus are in the Associate Dean of Students’ office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition to the basket drive and luncheon, Rider students, faculty and staff will serve a pre-Thanksgiving meal, prepared and donated by ARAMARK Food Services, to the Trenton area homeless. This annual project, sponsored by Campus Ministry, provides the Rider community with yet another opportunity to share its good fortune with others.
“It’s important for Rider to reach out to the community whenever we can,” Pasqua said. “Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to give back by giving to those who may need it most.”