Students looking to get rid of some extra canned food and extra pounds this Thanksgiving season may find the Community Affairs Board (CAB) food drive or this Saturday’s 28th Annual Turkey Trot to be worthy recipients.
The Community Affairs Board is collecting money and canned food until Monday, Nov. 21, for Thanksgiving dinner baskets, said Pam Van Dyk, Associated Students community volunteer coordinator. The baskets will go to 35 Isla Vista families who have expressed need for the extra food.
Also, the Recreational Sports Dept. is hosting its annual Turkey Trot on Saturday to raise funds for staff development, said fourth-year film studies major and event organizer Megan Gautreau. Participants may run or walk in the 10K race, at 9:30 a.m., or the 5K at 9:45 a.m. Registration is $20 for individuals and $70 for teams of four.
The Community Affairs Board currently has between 10 and 20 cans and $65 in donations, said Robby Cousart, CAB public relations and hunger homelessness program coordinator. He said in order to have enough to fill 35 baskets, CAB needs a lot more food and at least $150. All donations may be brought to the CAB office on the second floor of the MultiCultural Center. Checks should be made payable to “CAB/Thanksgiving.”
Cousart, a fourth-year political science major, said money raised will go toward buying a turkey and other Thanksgiving dinner ingredients for each family. Accepted food donations include canned corn, peas, green beans, pumpkin, piecrusts, Stove Top stuffing, boxed mashed potatoes and any other foods commonly eaten at Thanksgiving.
“It’s nice to give something back to the Isla Vista community,” he said. “We hold events, parties and things in I.V., but those don’t give back. We need to reach out, because so many people in this community really need the help, especially around holiday time.”
Van Dyk said I.V. Elementary School Principal Lisa Maglione received requests for the baskets from 35 I.V. families whose children attend the school. The Community Affairs Board hopes to provide Thanksgiving baskets for all of the families, some of whom are so impoverished that they are nearly homeless, Van Dyk said.
“If you’re from a family that doesn’t have enough to put food on the table, this helps quite a bit,” said James To, A.S. associate director for community affairs. “It’s pretty significant for the community here.”
The 2000 U.S. census indicated that 28.6 percent of families in I.V. live below the poverty line, while the national average was 9.2 percent. According to the I.V. Elementary School website, 68 percent of students last year received free or reduced-price lunches.
The Community Affairs Board has organized the Thanksgiving basket program for seven years, along with annual toy and backpack drives for underprivileged families in I.V. The organization also sponsors a Thanksgiving dinner for low-income and homeless families, Cousart said. This year’s dinner is a potluck, and will be held on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m.
“Some [groups] just throw money at these dinners, but it’s really important to have a down-home potluck,” Cousart said. “We need to spend time with [the families] and talk with them.”
Another UCSB Thanksgiving charity tradition is this Saturday’s 28th annual Turkey Trot. Gautreau said runners should meet behind the UCen by the Lagoon. The 5K race will circle around the Lagoon, and the 10K will continue from the lagoon down Del Playa Drive toward UCSB’s West Campus, to Francisco Torres, and then back to campus.
During the 28 years the Turkey Trot has been held at UCSB, the proceeds from the race have benefited many on-campus and community organizations and charities, Gautreau said. For example, money raised used to go to the Student Medical Emergency Relief Fund (SMERF), which helps students who need emergency medical attention pay for the services. However, since students approved a SMERF lock-in fee of 89 cents per-student per-quarter last spring, Turkey Trot proceeds now fund Recreational Sports Dept. staff development.
“[The Turkey Trot] is a really good idea that brings students and community members together,” Gautreau said. “It’s fun and very proactive, for the workers and the participants alike. It really benefits everyone because the entire staff gets to work together on something.”
Gautreau said she hopes to see about 200 runners at Saturday’s event. Roughly 50 people are currently registered, most of which are community members, but Gautreau said she would like to see more student participation.
Woodstock’s Pizza, Jamba Juice and McConnell’s Ice Cream are donating food and water for the runners, Gautreau said. Local businesses have donated prizes, which will go to the first-, second- and third-place finishers for the men’s and women’s 5K and 10K races, and also to the first finishing group of four.