Phi Theta Kappa Sets the Table This Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, many families will spend the holiday reunited with loved ones around long dining tables and a cornucopia of homemade dishes ready for consumption. Guests will leave with laughter, full hearts and bellies more stuffed than the turkey.

Though this picture is familiar to many, for food-insecure families in Clark County the scene is much different: A happy holiday becomes just another meal to worry about.

This Fall, Clark College’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society will be hosting their annual Thanksgiving basket drive. The drive will raise funds to purchase Thanksgiving meal baskets for food-insecure Clark students.

Ruth Trejo, a director for the club, said the goal is to raise $3,500 for the event, enough to provide 150 baskets. Baskets are donated on a first-come, first-served basis to nominated students.

According to Trejo, each basket includes a 10-12 pound turkey, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes and other various sides.

Though the drive is coordinated by PTK, the success of the fundraiser is also attributed to other community groups. Bags for the baskets are provided on behalf of Kaiser Permanente, while food will be purchased from Walmart at a discounted price, according to Trejo.

“It’s heartwarming to see that a lot of programs donated,” Trejo said.

Trejo said students are very grateful when they realize that “at least for one holiday, dinner is covered and they don’t have to worry about it.”

PTK’s Vice President of Service Viveca Duazo is coordinating the logistics of the drive.

Photo of Mark Edmonds standing in from of the Clark County Food Bank
Matt Edmonds, program manager for the Clark County Food Bank, said that around one in 10 county residents falls below the poverty line. Phi Theta Kappa’s annual Thanksgiving food drive at Clark seeks to provide meals for food-insecure students and their families. (Sandra Maszak / The Indepedent)

The drive is impactful for students, as it allows them to have a “Thanksgiving meal at home with family, rather than going to a soup kitchen,” Duazo said.

Matt Edmonds, Program Manager for the Clark County Food Bank, is an expert on how food insecurities impact local families. According to Edmonds, 9.5 to 10 percent of families live at or beneath the poverty line in Clark County. Though government programs like Temporary Aid to Needy Families and foods stamps provide some assistance, they are generally not enough to comprehensively support a family, Edmonds added.

To reach their goal, PTK will be hosting a Krispy Kreme donut fundraiser. Donuts will be sold in Gaiser Hall in exchange for a donation from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.

According to Duazo, last year the club gave out 105 baskets, surpassing their goal of 100.

Students can be nominated by peers, faculty and staff, or themselves.

For anyone interested in helping or nominating a student, contact Trejo at rtrejo@clark.edu. Anyone can help with this cause, not just PTK members.

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