Holiday meals prepared for community members

Lilly Casolaro

Staff Writer

In November, Chi Omega sorority joined forces with The Campus Kitchen at Troy University for a Thanksgiving Day food drive. This initiative, named Turkey Palooza, assisted families with children at Head Start in preparing for the holidays.

The Campus Kitchen uses food donations and redirects excess food from Troy Dining Services to assist those in need in the local community.

Turkey Palooza is a national effort coordinated across all 55 schools of the Campus Kitchens network.  Member schools are encouraged to coordinate special deliveries of food beyond their weekly operations to client agencies that will address food insecurity challenges that often arise during the holidays.

In total, Chi Omega collected food donations for all 120 children at Head Start to have the basic elements of a Thanksgiving meal.

Each bag consisted of traditional Thanksgiving vegetables, fruits, starches and desserts for families to have for their holiday meals.

Bethany Carroll, a senior elementary education major from Montgomery, said this partnership provided an opportunity for the sorority to give back to the community.

“Community service is one of Chi Omega’s six purposes, and we all hold it close to our heart by striving to serve others,” Carroll said. “Pike County has become our home, so we wanted to participate in a project that gives back to the community that has done so much for us.”

Each member of the organization was responsible for bringing in designated items that were then prepared into bags and delivered to Head Start on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

“Chi Omega was looking for an opportunity to give back to Pike County, and we were so excited for the chance to work with Campus Kitchens to provide Thanksgiving meals for the families of Head Start,” Carroll said. “I am so thankful to be a part of an organization that loves to give back to the community.”

Dorsey Faison, director of Troy Head Start, said that the Thanksgiving meals meant a lot to the students, families and staff.

“It was a great pleasure to see the faces of the parents when they received the bags,” Faison said. “Many faces showed smiles of gratefulness and signs of relief because they would be able to prepare a meal for their family.”

“We (Organized Community Action Program and Troy Head Start staff) are eternally grateful for all the things that Troy University organizations have contributed to our program,” she said.    

Jonathan Cellon, coordinator of the office of civic engagement, which oversees The Campus Kitchen, said that many children living in Pike County face poverty, and he is thankful for the assistance of Chi Omega.

“I’d like to personally thank all the members of Chi Omega for their efforts to alleviate food insecurity,” Cellon said. “Thirty-four percent of children in Pike County live in food insecurity, and hunger is particularly pronounced during the holidays and during long breaks from school.

“This was a big undertaking in terms of organizing members, donations and delivery, and the leadership that Chi Omega demonstrated was outstanding.”

Organizations or individuals interested in volunteering with the Campus Kitchen at Troy University can stop by Eldridge 122 to sign up for a volunteer shift preparing meals on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. or delivering meals on Fridays at 1 p.m.

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