CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The Penn State Lehigh Valley Office of Student Life held its annual Thanksgiving food drive for residents of the Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown. The campus community gathered on Nov. 16 to pack and distribute food to provide a Thanksgiving meal to 47 families living at the shelter. This community service project is a collaborative effort between students, faculty and staff, and has been a tradition for several years.
“The Thanksgiving food drive allows all members of our campus to bond together in service as we help to meet a basic need of food for those less fortunate. As a campus community, we all realize the importance of helping others and we receive great satisfaction from being able to offer this support,” said Pam Fleck, assistant director of student affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley.
The Thanksgiving Food drive accepted donations from Nov. 1 to 15. The goal was to raise more than $1,200 in monetary donations from faculty and staff to purchase turkey, rolls, potatoes and desserts. The Penn State Lehigh Valley Women’s Commission joined the cause with a monetary donation used towards the food items. The Giant Food store in Coopersburg and the Entenmann’s Bakery outlet offered discounts and gift cards to help offset the cost of the perishable items.
Non-perishables, including canned vegetables and cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing and gravy were donated by more than 20 student clubs and organizations. Each club donated 15 to 25 of the non-perishable items requested.
“One of our student groups, the LAN club, goes above and beyond each year, donating more than 100 canned items”, said Fleck. “Our total exceeded 1,000 non-perishables from our students this year!”
Each of the donated items were packed in a grocery bag, and, due to an overflow in donations, each family will have a little extra on their plate for Thanksgiving.
“We look forward to the Penn State Lehigh Valley food drive every year,” said Kristine Blasco, director of the Sixth Street Shelter and Penn State Lehigh Valley alumna. “And I know our families are looking forward to making their dinners!”
“It’s the spirit of giving that brings us all together over the holidays,” said Fleck. “The value of these meals to those receiving them was evident on the grateful faces of the residents awaiting their Thanksgiving meal. At Penn State Lehigh Valley, we are thankful for this chance to help our local community.”