By Jordan Hearne
Campus Kitchen, an organization that gathers excess food from on-campus dining halls and provides meals to people in the Waco community, is collecting Thanksgiving dinner donations for this year’s Turkeypalooza.
While the organization usually focuses on repurposing food that would otherwise go to waste, Turkeypalooza is a chance for the community to get involved.
Singapore junior David Lim is in charge of marketing for Campus Kitchen and said the event is a food drive for items such as cranberry sauce, canned vegetables and rolls.
Food donations will be divided into baskets to be delivered the week before Thanksgiving to various nonprofits in Waco.
“This is a good way right before the holidays to show the Waco community that Baylor can help,” Lim said. “You don’t have to bring in food if you don’t want to; you can just bring in a monetary donation.”
Rosemary Townsend, director of community and business affairs, said one of the nonprofit organizations receiving Turkeypalooza baskets is the Family Abuse Center in Waco.
She said the food will go to women who have been abused and relocated with their families so they can have a special meal for Thanksgiving.
“I think that it’s a great way for all of us to become aware of the needs of others,” Townsend said. “It’s kind of like, ‘Sure this is what I’m going to see on Thanksgiving Day when I sit down at my family’s table,’ but many families aren’t able to have that.”
El Paso sophomore Amanda Arreola is the special events coordinator for Campus Kitchen and said Turkeypalooza at Baylor stems from D.C. Central Kitchen, the model for campus kitchens around the nation.
She said each year the D.C. Central Kitchen collects hundreds of turkeys and Thanksgiving side dishes to deliver to families that might not otherwise be able to afford Thanksgiving meals.
“One of our interns had suggested doing Turkeypalooza. It’s a way for us to do something bigger than we are used to and do a big event to finish out the fall semester,” Arreola said.
Campus Kitchen is hoping to beat last year’s total of 60 baskets.
“This year we set our goal at 100, but I’m really hoping we will get a Thanksgiving miracle and get a lot more baskets,” she said.
Townsend said this Thanksgiving, the number of people needing holiday meal help is larger than previous years.
“All of these food banks are getting people wanting more and more assistance,” Townsend said. “There is just an increased number, especially this year, of more folks who are in need.”
For students wanting to get involved, Arreola said Campus Kitchen needs help in multiple areas.
A full list of acceptable food donations can be found on the Campus Kitchen at Baylor website, www.baylor.edu/campuskitchen, or people can gather spare change and donate $40 to build a Thanksgiving basket.
Either way, Arreola said each basket will be personalized and donations will be accepted through Tuesday.
Townsend said checks should be made to Baylor Campus Kitchen with “Turkey Basket” in the memo area, and that monetary donations can be mailed in to Baylor Campus Kitchen, Attn.: Rosemary Townsend, at One Bear Place #97060, Waco, TX 76798.
Arreola said students can also volunteer in a hands-on way by helping assemble baskets or delivering completed meals.
Interested volunteers can email Arreola at Amanda_Arreola@baylor.edu or go by the Student Learning Office in the Bill Daniel Student Center to leave donations and find out more information.