On Nov. 27, Eastern Connecticut State University hosted its seventh annual “Day of Giving Community Celebration,” a Thanksgiving dinner for community members who are patrons of local soup kitchens and other social service agencies. A number of volunteers, patrons and Eastern faculty expressed their appreciation for the campus celebration.
Eastern President Elsa Núez talked about the origins of the Day of Giving and how it has made an impact on the Eastern community. “A student came to me six years ago and asked if we could do a charity event for the Willimantic community during Thanksgiving,” said Núñez. “We made it a university-wide event so that Eastern students, faculty, staff and Center for Community Engagement employees and volunteers could participate.”
Covenant Soup Kitchen Director Paul Doyle and other soup kitchen staff members and volunteers were also on campus for the event. “It’s absolutely wonderful to be back,” said Doyle. “The Eastern staff is fantastic. The way they reach out to the community here in Willimantic is something really special.”
Diner Mary Lou Martel praised Eastern students for their hard work and contribution. “The food and service has been wonderful,” said Martel.
Marcella Plaska, another diner, also praised the Eastern faculty and servers. “Everyone has been so kind and very helpful,” said Plaska.
“Eastern’s Day of Giving is a special event because it is student-driven,” said Max Goto, volunteer and event coordinator for the Center for Community Engagement (CCE). “It’s a great opportunity for the Eastern community to come together as one. It allows Eastern volunteers to stretch their hand out beyond Eastern’s campus and actively help in the Willimantic community.”
CCE Director Kim Silcox also applauded the event volunteers. “Max Goto, a number of Eastern student leaders, Eastern’s Office of Institutional Advancement and Chartwells Food Services are the people that have made this event such a success,” said Silcox. “Chartwells coordinates with their food vendors to provide the food and Chartwells’ staff comes in every year to prepare the meal.”
For more information on Eastern’s Center for Community Engagement and the Day of Giving, contact Irene Cretella at (860) 465-0900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.