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ASI asking for help to fill Thanksgiving food baskets

Food baskets are prepared for delivery to students in need at the Associated Students Inc. Food Pantry. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Students continue to struggle with food insecurity, a problem exacerbated by the combination of job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and Sacramento’s expensive rental market.

Nearly one-quarter of the Sacramento State students who regularly shop at the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Food Pantry will share their groceries with family members. Between July 2020 and August 2021, nearly 6,000 students used the Food Pantry.  

That’s why ASI hopes the campus community and general public will respond generously to its Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive, which continues through Wednesday, Nov. 10.

“We can make a difference so that Thanksgiving won’t be canceled for our students,” said Elizabeth Villalobos, ASI Food Pantry coordinator.

For each $40 tax-deductible cash donation, ASI can purchase 20 items for a family’s holiday meal. The organization’s goal is to provide food baskets to 200 Sac State students and another 50 to local nonprofits.

Donors who wish to shop for and fill a basket themselves may deliver their gift to the ASI Student Engagement and Outreach office in the University Union 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays through Thursday, Nov. 10. The ASI website lists items required for a complete basket.

Last year, ASI provided Thanksgiving baskets to 230 students in Sacramento and many living elsewhere and studying remotely.

Thanksgiving baskets will contain, among other items, canned vegetables and fruit, cranberry sauce, gravy, pie crust and filling, and stuffing. Recipients who wish to add a free turkey to their holiday meal can sign up through Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services.

Any student enrolled at Sac State can reserve a Thanksgiving basket. University employees may nominate students for the program as well.

Last year, ASI provided Thanksgiving baskets to 230 students in Sacramento and many living elsewhere and studying remotely. Seven area nonprofits, including Blessed Faith Ministries and several elementary schools, each received 10 filled baskets.

ASI received $10,485 in cash donations.

The 2020 Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive was particularly successful because ASI partnered with Student Health and Counseling Services to collect donations during drive-through flu-shot clinics. Enough food was collected to fill 60 baskets.

“Hunger is a universal feeling everyone can relate to,” said Wil Chen, ASI’s director of Student Engagement and Outreach.

“Through this holiday drive, we have an opportunity to provide a festive meal for students in need of extra support. Each donation can have a significant and lasting impact on a student’s life.”

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About Dixie Reid

Dixie Reid has been a writer for Sac State since 2012 after decades as a newspaper reporter. A Texas native with the accent to prove it, Dixie is crazy about “dear friends, big dogs, good books, great food, day trips, baking cookies, California sunshine (and fog), and kind people.”

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