Turkey & Trimmings program is back

Nicole Yeager, News Editor

For the past 15 years, the University has participated in “Turkeys & Trimmings,” a program designed to address food insecurity during the holiday season and to provide a rewarding opportunity for all community members to contribute to the cause. In past years, students and others put together “Thanksgiving Dinner Baskets” that are donated to local families to ensure they “have the means to prepare a meal of celebration.” The baskets included boxed and/or canned stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables and a gift certificate for a turkey. This program is hosted by the Office of Civic Engagement; this year Assistant Director of Community Service Lynn Pierson and Education and Outreach Coordinator Carl Nelson made the necessary adjustments to ensure “Turkeys & Trimmings” would still happen in the midst of the pandemic.

“Food insecurity is a growing problem for many of our friends and neighbors in the Susquehanna Valley,” Nelson said. “According to Feeding America, it is estimated that the food insecurity rates for Union, Snyder and Northumberland Counties will increase 50% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Last year, our efforts (both basket donation and monetary) fed over 500 local individuals,” he added. “This year, we are hoping to prepare around 120 baskets for donation.”

The Office of Civic Engagement partners with various local organizations to deliver the baskets to families in need; this year, they are partnering with the following six organizations: Union County Assistance Office, Head Start Lewisburg, Head Start Northumberland, Penn Commons, Essex Place and Meadowview.

In order to participate in this program, any person or group in the campus community can sign up to donate one basket of food that could feed a family of four to six. “Gifts and other donations are always welcome to help raise spirits, but food is the core of this program,” Nelson said.

As for the COVID-19 safety precautions, the following changes were made: 

All baskets must be sealed or wrapped in order to minimize cross-contamination and to keep staff and families healthy (a great way to do this is to pack your basket in a reusable bin or container with a lid).  “our donations may not be quite as beautiful as in years past, but we’ll make sure they are safe,” Nelson said.

Baskets are to be dropped off at ELC 241 on Monday, Nov. 16 or Tuesday, Nov. 17. Students must make an appointment to drop off baskets; a form will be sent out to those who sign up to participate and donate. Monetary support and gift cards are welcome separately and can be dropped off at the Office of Civic Engagement (119 Bertrand Library) until Nov. 18.

Furthermore, all participants are required to fill out a brief form to confirm their participation and acknowledge that COVID-19 precautions will be taken. The sign-up form and full details on the program can be found at tinyurl.com/BucknellTurkey2020

“It’s really heartwarming to see baskets come in from all over campus- from departments and offices to student groups and staff members…it’s a way we can use our abundance and help those in need of support during these tough times,” Nelson said.

Contact Carl Nelson (cjn009@bucknell.edu) or Lynn Pierson (lcp008@bucknell.edu) for more information.

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