The thanks of giving
Traditional BU fundraiser benefits all
by J. Nicole Long
When Thanksgiving draws near for low-income families, BU passes the buck.
The Thanksgiving Coalition, an alliance of student groups, is again gathering the Turkey Buck envelopes that fund food baskets for Allston, Brighton, and Brookline families who are not able to afford a holiday dinner. A total of 375 families benefit from the University's effort.
For the seventh year, faculty and staff will return the Turkey Buck envelopes that are circulated through each department and that provide the majority of the funding. But they are not the only contributors. Student a cappella groups and sketch comedy performers participated in the November 14 Thanksgiving Coalition Benefit Concert. "We raised $300," says Coalition coordinator Dave Tarampi (SAR'00). "Our goal is $6,000 -- but, as we say, every little bit helps."
Michael Ciarlante, director of the Office of Public Information and Coalition advisor, oversees the distribution and receipt of the Turkey Buck envelopes and provides assistance to Tarampi. "Most of my time is spent on the details of paperwork and meetings, but what fuels my work with this project is the satisfaction of working with enthusiastic students," Ciarlante says. He is also coodinating with Development and Alumni Relations to solicit donations from alumni, which is a new development for the Coalition this year. The purpose is to offset costs if the monetary goal is not reached or to build the coffers for next year.
Robert Thornburg, dean of Marsh Chapel, also helps organize the project. "He gives us access to a copier and encourages donations from the religious communities," says Tarampi. The University's Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic clergy are collecting for the Coalition during their services.
The baskets are intended to provide food for a few days, including the Thanksgiving spread. "This year we had to cut out boxes of cereal. They would have put us over budget," says Tarampi. Families will receive a 12-pound turkey, 5 pounds of potatoes, stuffing, gravy, string beans, carrots, corn, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, apple and orange juice, and Quaker oats. The coalition not only invites monetary donations, but welcomes any of the basket items as well.
On Saturday, November 21, 300 students will assemble the baskets in the Fuller Building, where there will be music, breakfast Danish, and juice. Approximately 50 students will then truck the baskets to the Allston-Brighton Food Pantry. "Part of the pleasure of working with the Coalition," says Tarampi, " is seeing so many people in the BU community come together. When the work is done and we take the baskets to the Pantry, the workers greet us with tremendous gratitude. We're the ones bringing the donations, but I feel I'm the recipient of a gift."
To inquire about making food or monetary donations, please call 617-353-2752.