NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Thanksgiving Homebound, the annual food drive spearheaded by Stephen F. Austin State University's Jacks Council on Family Relations, is ready for another season of giving.
Hoping to serve at least 100 regional families in need, the student organization is looking for individuals and organizations to “adopt” and donate to a family or families identified by the Solid Foundation, Greater East Texas Community Action Program’s Head Start and Family Crisis Center of East Texas. These agencies then take the donations to their respective clients for disbursement.
The Department of Athletics at SFA has already adopted 10 families, and the Nacogdoches High School Student Council is expected to adopt families as well.
While the donation drive is inspired by Thanksgiving, gifted items do not have to reflect typical Thanksgiving fare. Beans and rice, all manner of canned goods, pasta and spaghetti sauce, taco shells and noodles, for example, are acceptable.
Dr. Jennifer Newquist, associate professor in SFA’s School of Human Sciences, said the student-led donation drive has developed into quite the campus tradition.
“This service project has been around for years,” Newquist said. “I was told that several students were volunteering at Christmas and wondered why no one helped families in the community during Thanksgiving. These students asked GETCAP Head Start to provide the names of eight families. They then purchased groceries for Thanksgiving so the families could cook a holiday dinner. That’s how it started.”
One of the agencies that benefits the most from the donation drive is the crisis center, which works with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. They are hoping to serve at least 30 families this year.
“We gladly accept any donations we can get,” said Melissa Wheeler, the crisis center’s development director. “Without them, some of our clients wouldn’t be able to meet their basic needs.”
SFA’s Jacks Council on Family Relations will take donations during normal business hours from Nov. 7-9 at the Education Annex, Room 121, located at 1620 Raguet St. on SFA’s campus.
For those interested in adopting a family and donating, email Newquist at email@example.com.