Annual Thanksgiving giveaway feeds families; warms hearts


Amarillo College is preparing for the AC Food Pantry’s annual Thanksgiving dinner distribution. The college will give away sacks full of items for Thanksgiving dinner along with $10 gift cards for use at any United Supermarket/Market Street.

Social Services Director Jordan Herrera said they plan to give out 200 bags this year, which is double the amount given the past two years. Everything in the bags has been donated by AC faculty and staff.

“This is important to AC because we understand the importance of giving back to our students and their families,” Herrera said.

In 2012, speech professor Lynae’ Jacob began the Thanksgiving bag giveaway as a way to help the students in her classes. The overwhelming response to this giveaway inspired Jacob to start the AC Food Pantry.

“The whole point is to keep our students in school,” Jacob said. “If this is something that gets someone through a hump and keeps him or her in school, then that’s our goal. Food costs money, gas costs money – AC’s pantry is offering help to those who would otherwise have to make a choice.”

Since it began, the pantry has expanded to include locations on the East and West Campuses. This fall the Washington Street location moved to the Advocacy and Resource Center in the Ware Student Center. “The pantry is doing great here. We have already seen an increase in traffic, and students are finding the pantry easily, and we’re finding out that this is a more convenient location for them to visit the pantry,” Herrera said.

“They have more space,” Princeton Hegwood, a fire protection technology major, said about the new location. “Now the doors are usually always open. You’re able to get to them and they have pretty much just about anything that you need if you are in a tight circumstance,” he said.

Herrera said that to put together the Thanksgiving sacks, she asked each AC department to “adopt” and donate a particular Thanksgiving item. “Everyone in the speech and mass media area is bringing cans of cream of mushroom soup so recipients can make the traditional green bean casserole,” Jill Gibson, associate dean of the School of Creative Arts, said. When all the donations—from corn to cranberries–are assembled, the bags will contain everything to complete a Thanksgiving dinner except the turkey, which recipients can purchase with the United gift card.

The bags will be given out from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21, in the Louise Daniels room in the College Union Building.  The East and West Campuses will distribute from their food pantry rooms. Students just need to be currently enrolled at AC to qualify for a Thanksgiving bag. The bags will be given out on a first come, first served basis and cannot be reserved.

Thanksgiving facts

  • 98% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving
  • The average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner in 2015 was $40.11
  • 45 million turkeys are killed at Thanksgiving
  • Most Americans say they are most thankful for the health of their family

Source: Forbes

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