Community Thanksgiving 2015

For the UAS Whalesong

On the eve of Wednesday, November 25th, I was getting myself all packed up and ready to go home to visit my family for Thanksgiving. A little redundant, some might say, since the end of the semester was coming around in about two weeks – but hey, far be it from me to not go out of my way for the Macy’s Parade and a good turkey dinner (and then three days of turkey sandwiches and soup afterward). Nighttime flights are never particularly enjoyable, and I hadn’t had a chance to really eat dinner in between packing, homework, and class. So when my ride to the airport, fellow Whalesong employee Holly Fisher, suggested we stop by the UAS Community Thanksgiving event, I was completely down for it.

For those of you who might not have attended this year’s Community Thanksgiving, or don’t know what it is, allow me to enlighten you. Especially if you’re fairly new to the college scene, spending Thanksgiving away from home can be pretty difficult. You’re used to being around your family, following family traditions, and eating your family’s food. Plus, it’s entirely possible that your cooking skills might not be up to par for having Thanksgiving all by yourself. That’s why every year, UAS hosts a Community Thanksgiving where everyone at UAS can come and get a good, traditional Thanksgiving meal with their college friends and family. It’s a ton of free food, a really great environment, and a fantastic tradition that I, for one, would like to see UAS maintain in future years.

Now, I said “free food,” but in truth this years’ price of admission was one can of food per person. When I arrived at the event, there were large totes full of cans outside the doors to the Lakeside Grill, and so I turned in my can and signed in on the iPads provided for that purpose. Then, once I was inside, I ended up being served food by UAS staff – staff that usually doesn’t work in the cafeteria, to my surprise! I was very appreciative that they devoted their time and energy to making Community Thanksgiving be a success. There was plenty of food and drink, with more dishes coming out of the kitchen while I was eating.

This leads me to discuss the aftermath of the event – what happened to all the leftovers, not to mention the canned food that was donated? I talked to Nathan Bodenstadt, our First Year Experience  Advisor, and found out that UAS was able to donate 185 pounds of canned food to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank. Mostly everyone in attendance brought at least one can to “pay their way” into the event, and for those who didn’t, some people had brought more than one can in order to cover them. In addition, all of the leftover food was donated to the Glory Hole that same evening. Nathan wasn’t able to tell me an exact amount, but he did mention that the donated food included turkey, corn, squash, mashed potatoes, and other Thanksgiving meal staples. “Ultimately,” he concluded, “we were able to celebrate our own Thanksgiving as well as help the community out in a few ways.”

Thanksgiving is, obviously, a time for giving thanks – both for your possessions and opportunities as well as the people in your life. But it’s also the official opener of the holiday season, which is why I think it’s important that Thanksgiving be as pleasant and successful as possible. And here at UAS, even if we can’t go home to be with your family over the weekend break, we are at least ensured of another efficient avenue through which to get our food comas. And since the leftovers were donated, we never have to live through the ensuing weeks of turkey-based dishes! So, you know – thanks for that.

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