‘Boro Bucket List: Giving back over the holiday

McCann is a senior international studies major. She is the Arts and Entertainment chief.

Lilly McCann

There is more to Thanksgiving than leftovers, naps and vegging on the couch watching football. The holiday season always seems to be the time of the year where the less-fortunate are recognized and accessible opportunities to help bring tradition to the community spring up.

“Giving back means helping others less fortunate than me,” Erica Beaver, junior accounting major, said. “The holiday season is about giving to others.”

If you’re a little low on cash, volunteering your time is always affordable. If your time is already strained across classes, extracurricular activities and friends, a few dollars can make the difference between one more hot meal or one more gift under the tree.

“It’s what the holiday season is really about. Every family has something like a tradition specifically to love about the season. Giving a nice meal to a family that may not be able to afford much or to a child a gift to open on Christmas morning is a way we can share the things we love,” Rebecca Albritton, senior linguistics major, said.

Feed the ‘Boro on Thanksgiving

Last year, more than 2,300 meals were served up and that number is expected to reach over 3,000 at this year’s Feed the ‘Boro. In 2011, Feed the ‘Boro almost didn’t happen when organizer, Jimmy Anthony fell ill.

“I actually had volunteered for about three years and I had already been in contact with them and I wanted to know how I could help,” Robin Aspinwall, event coordinator, said. “A week before Thanksgiving I found out he could no longer do it and it fell apart. I thought of all the kids I had delivered to on Thanksgiving before and they had the funds they just needed someone to lead. I had no idea what I was doing, I prayed on it and getting volunteers and to just make it happen.”

Feed the ‘Boro is a tradition that is over 20 years old. To keep bringing meals to the less fortunate this Thanksgiving, the help of donations and volunteers is needed.

Food preparation will begin at 4 p.m. on Wednesday Nov. 27 at Statesboro High School and food deliveries will begin at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day until meals run out.

Checks can be written to the Savannah Community Foundation.

A meal costs about a dollar and keeping funding coming is what can keep this tradition alive.

Warm Clothing Drive and Holiday Helper Tree

The Warm Clothing Drive, which collects warm clothes to keep or community bundled up this holiday season, is in its third year. Yes, it does get cold enough in South Georgia. Last year over 600 items were collected and distributed among GSU students, staff and faculty in need. Collection bins are set up around campus until Friday Nov. 29, so consider giving a jacket you’ve outgrown to help the GSU community.

Dressed in colorful tags and standing boldly in the Russell Union, the Holiday Helper Tree represents those less fortunate this Christmas season. Each tag bears the name of a family or individual along with a gift idea but symbolizes so much more, making Christmas possible for everyone.

“We always have an overwhelming response from faculty, staff and students. Even within the difficulty of the economy we still have such a tremendous response,” Eileen Smith, co-founder and senior administrative secretary for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, said.

The Holiday Helper Tree is in its 20th year and has grown from supporting 250 people to nearly 1000. Students looking to participate can pluck a tag off the tree until Nov. 22 and return the gifts by Dec. 2.

“A lot of people tend to hone in on the children, which is great but we’ve got a lot of elderly people in our community that need help too,” Smith said.

Volunteers are encouraged to wrap gifts and donations of gift-wrap, tissue paper and gift bags are being accepted.

Beyond the Boro

“My family and I helped delivered turkey dinners to families with low income last year. Some people had no idea they were getting this and could not stop smiling,” Albritton said. “My family and I have also sponsored children in our community back home and given them toys at our Christmas party.”

Hosea Feed the Hungry (HFTH) is an international social community with the intent to end the cycle of poverty by feeding those in need.

This Thanksgiving the organization is looking for volunteers in the Atlanta area to serve meals to at least 40,000 people. Feed the Hungry, Inc. in Savannah is also looking for volunteers to help manage the holiday season.

Even if serving or preparing meals isn’t your thing, the annual Thanksgiving 5k in Atlanta is a way to show your support.

If you haven’t heard of any opportunities to give back by word of mouth, a quick Google search can open endless options to give back this holiday season.