Thanksgiving Marks a Time to Celebrate, Give Back
Students with just some of the 275 baskets of food collected for families in need at Thanksgiving.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Rider community embraced the opportunity to help the surrounding area’s less fortunate through a number of service projects during its annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which runs until Saturday, November 19. Organizers say the events, designed to raise awareness of the realities of homelessness and hunger in our society, have been a huge success so far.
The week kicked off with Invisible Children on November 14, when 40 students gathered for a presentation and documentary about child soldiers in rebel war and ways to restore communities in central Africa to peace and prosperity. Later that night, more than 70 students participated in Sleep Out for the Homelessness on the Campus Mall. Participating students represented various majors and student organizations, including The Rider Bonner Community Scholars, Alpha Phi Omega, Greek Life, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Women’s Volleyball.
On November 15, some 45 students came out to the Hunger Banquet to learn about food inequality of the world. Then on November 16, students surpassed the goal of making 500 sandwiches during the Peanut Butter Jelly Time program. All sandwiches will be donated to individuals in need.
In order to make a Mercer County family’s Thanksgiving a little brighter, students, organizations, and faculty and staff departments were asked to put together baskets for Rider’s annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive. Jane Sanchez, coordinator of Community Service, estimated that more than 275 baskets were donated by the University community to HomeFront, Womanspace and Grace Community Church.
Organizers for this year’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week have teamed up with organizers of the annual Feed the Hungry outreach project. For more than 20 years, Rider’s Campus Ministry, the men’s baseball team, students, faculty and staff have supported the Loaves and Fishes, a nonprofit organization that serves hot meals to the poor and homeless of Trenton. On Saturday, November 19, Rider will continue the tradition by serving a pre-Thanksgiving meal to the homeless in the area from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Trenton. For more information, please contact Chris De Frehn at [email protected] or Stacy Fischler Parrado at [email protected].
During the entire week of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the Protestant Campus Ministry and Catholic Campus Ministry and GOALS have been holding a Midnight Run Clothing Drive. University community members can donate new and gently used clothes, shoes, coats and blankets to the Greek Houses or Gill Chapel.