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  • ASI drive-through effort will fill Thanksgiving food baskets

    The tradition of Associated Students Inc. collecting and distributing Thanksgiving meals, work that is pictured from 2019, continues this season with a drive-through program. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

    By Dixie Reid

    Nearly one-fourth of the Sacramento State students who rely on the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Food Pantry to feed themselves also are feeding their family members.

    That’s why ASI urgently hopes for a generous response to its Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive, which kicks off with drive-through donations on campus Thursday, Nov. 5, and Thursday, Nov. 12.

    ASI’s goal is to provide Thanksgiving dinner fixings for at least 150 Sac State students with families and to donate baskets to local nonprofits that are committed to helping families in need.

    “It’s one way we can ‘move the reach of the University beyond J Street,’ as Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen advocated for in his Fall 2019 address,” said Elizabeth Villalobos, ASI Food Pantry coordinator.

    “The Thanksgiving Food Basket program is more important than ever, as 2020 has been a challenging year for our community.”

    Donors up for some grocery shopping can choose to provide all or some items on the Thanksgiving Basket list below and deliver them to Parking Lot 7, near the ASI Children’s Center, between 3-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, or 9 a.m.-noon Thursday, Nov. 12.

    ASI representatives wearing face coverings will retrieve food from car trunks or truck beds and transfer them into the Food Pantry’s waiting van for safe, no-contact delivery.

    Here’s the shopping list for a family-sized basket of Thanksgiving sides, valued at about $35:

    • 4 cans vegetables (such as green beans, corn, mixed vegetables)
    • 2 cans fruit (such as peaches, pineapple, fruit cocktail)
    • 2 cans cranberry sauce
    • 2 cans gravy
    • 2 cans or cartons chicken broth
    • 2 boxes cornbread mix
    • 2 boxes mac ’n’ cheese
    • 1 box mashed potatoes
    • 1 box stuffing mix
    • 1 graham cracker pie crust
    • 1 can pie filling

    Donors also can make a tax-deductible gift to the Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive online through the University Foundation at Sac State. The campaign hopes to raise $5,250 by Friday, Nov. 20.

    ASI accepts also personal checks made payable to Associated Students Inc., with “Thanksgiving Baskets” on the memo line. Mail to: Associated Students Inc., at Sac State, attention ASI Food Pantry, 6000 J St. MS 6011, Sacramento, CA 95819.

    “The Thanksgiving Food Basket program is more important than ever, as 2020 has been a challenging year for our community.”

    Students who are registered with the Food Pantry or who have a child enrolled at the ASI Children’s Center are encouraged to reserve a Thanksgiving basket online

    Sac State faculty, staff, and administrators also may nominate student recipients at that link.

    Students who reserve a Thanksgiving basket may pick it up between noon-6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, or from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, at the ASI Food Pantry in the University Union.

    ASI is working to accommodate students who reserve a Thanksgiving basket but have moved out of the Sacramento area.

    Students wishing to add a free turkey to their Thanksgiving dinner menu may sign up next week on the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services website

    Members of Sac State’s campus clubs, organizations, and departments are competing for ASI’s annual Golden Plate Award, which goes to the group with the largest number of contributed Thanksgiving baskets. Participants should note their campus affiliation when donating.

    “The ASI Food Pantry has consistently provided Sac State students in need with essential items, such as nonperishable food, fresh produce, and personal hygiene items during this very challenging year,” said William Chen, ASI’s director of Student Engagement and Outreach.

    Nearly 1,000 students visited the Food Pantry in March 2020, almost all before the campus closed March 17 because of COVID-19. Many students left Sacramento and continued to attend classes online.

    The pantry remained open throughout the summer, with just 340 student visits in all of June, July, and August.

    “We hope that the Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive will make the holiday season a little brighter for our students and their families and members of the Sacramento community,” Chen said.

    In addition to the ASI food drive, Sacramento State will present its latest flu-shot clinic while offering the opportunity for participants to donate food. The clinic, titled "Feed a Family and Fight the Flu," will be 8 a.m. - noon Nov. 12 in Parking Structure 3. People seeking flu shots can make donations by placing food items in an ASI Food Pantry bin.

    The clinic is open to alumni, Renaissance Society members, retired faculty and the general public.

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