OVP hosts Thanksgiving basket drive


The Office of Volunteer Programs will be collecting baskets of donated goods for a Thanksgiving drive until Nov. 17. The baskets will then be distributed by the Stone Creek Church to families in Champaign-Urbana.

The Office of Volunteer Programs is joining together with the University community to make a difference in the lives of local families with Thanksgiving rapidly approaching.

From Nov. 3 to Nov. 17, the OVP is hosting a Thanksgiving basket drive in an effort to collect 250 baskets of food for families in need. The baskets will then be given to and distributed by Stone Creek Church in Urbana.

The baskets are full of nonperishable items that would aid a family in preparing a Thanksgiving meal, along with a $25 gift card for perishable items.

This year, all of the baskets will be donated to families in the Champaign-Urbana area.

“The people can sign up at six registration sights, and they actually have to show an ID to prove that they live here,” said Allison Collins, OVP event organizer and sophomore in DGS. “After that, they get a ticket and on a certain date they go pick up their meals.”

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Charlene Gandiya, an intern staff member at Stone Creek Church who is in charge of the drive this year, also explained that it is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Individuals usually submit individual items, but we encourage donating whole baskets,” said John Race, program advisor for the OVP.

This is one of the many drives that the OVP provides throughout the school year. For this event, they are hoping for more student participation than the office has seen in the past.

“We met our goal for Cans Across the Quad, but it was off in the sense that we didn’t get as much student participation as we were hoping,” said Alicia Robinson, graduate assistant at the OVP. “We had a lot of offices that would participate. Our goals for the remainder of the year are to target students across campus. So far, we’ve had one student organization that was really excited about making a donation. They can donate one or multiple baskets. It’s really exciting that it was a student organization, because that was one of our targets — to make sure that students are able to participate and engage in the community.”

This is the eighth year both the OVP and Stone Creek have hosted the drive. While the OVP has contributed 200 to 300 baskets each year, according to Race, Stone Creek collects a total of 1000, which they refer to as their “big give.”

“It started with one of our staff members. She had a heart for people and wanted to provide Thanksgiving dinner for them because almost everyone celebrates it no matter what religion they are,” Gandiya said.

Gandiya explained that the church has a partnership with Meijer grocery store to complete the rest of the baskets.

In order for a group to donate, a team leader must be decided on to coordinate with OVP and select how many baskets will be donated. Then, a group must be registered at www.go.illinois.edu/basket, and the items must be gathered in a laundry basket and dropped off by Monday in room 288 at the Illini Union. Individual items and donations are also accepted.

Maddie can be reached at [email protected].