University groups to provide free Thanksgiving meals for students in the DC area

Students can receive free hot meals in MGC on Thursday

University groups to provide free Thanksgiving meals for students in the DC area

The Mary Graydon Center, pictured in 2016. 

American University’s Residence Hall Association, the Office of Campus Life and the Pride Alumni Alliance are teaming up to provide students living in the D.C. area with a free hot meal on Thanksgiving.

Katie Fults, assistant director for training and leadership programs for Housing and Residence Life, said that the expected turnout for the event is about 200 students.

Students who registered in advance will be able to pick up their meals in MGC on Thursday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. If a student did not register, they will not be able to pick up a meal. Students visiting campus are expected to fill out their daily self screening form, and they will also be required to maintain a proper distance from others and wear a mask while in MGC. 

The meals will be provided by a company called Healthy Fresh Meals, which will heat seal the meals on Thanksgiving Day before delivering them to campus. There will also be options for students with dietary restrictions, Fults said.

“Everything is pre-packaged, and a student will be able to pick them up, have their meal, and they can either eat it right then, or they can take it home, and it can be saved in the fridge and then put in the microwave later,” Fults said.

Asantewa Boakyewa, the director of multicultural and affinity engagement in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, said that this event is normally one of Pride Alumni Alliance’s signature events. It is sponsored by Rob Johnson, the president of the AU Alumni Association.

Johnson said in an email that he supports Pride’s Thanksgiving because “not all AU students have the opportunity to have a Thanksgiving celebration with their families. Some LGTBQ students, for example, are not welcomed by their families. Other students may not have the resources to go home. And, sadly, for some students, home is not a place of peace and love and safety.” 

Fults and Boakyewa both said that this event is different from events in the past because each group normally holds their own Thanksgiving event. For example, Fults said that RHA has delivered meals to students’ dorm rooms in previous years.

“We were able to come together to make sure we could meet all the COVID regulations but still continue our tradition of providing a hot meal for students,” Fults said. 

ltarallo@theeagleonline.com

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