Rivier University's annual Thanksgiving Basket Project distributed 460 food baskets, 152 turkeys and $1,550 in supermarket gift cards for local families in need on November 21.
Students, staff, faculty, and alumni participated in this community service project with food and online cash donations. The Campus Ministry Office organized the event and gathered the baskets for presentation in the Dion Center Reception Room. Keeping with tradition, an Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service was held to give thanks and bless the food, volunteers, recipients, and community. The baskets were distributed to area agencies whose representatives attended the Service.
"By our gathering today, Rivier students, faculty and staff welcome our community partners who provide a powerful witness of direct service to our neighbors in need," said Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier's President. "Each of you is an ever-present reminder that faith finds a natural extension in service, and as a nation we aspire to liberty and justice for all."
In addition to Sister Paula and University administrators, Rivier students offered words of thanksgiving and prayer during the service. A community partner in this project, Sunset Heights Elementary School students and staff attended the service; they have generously contributed to this project for the past 29 years with food drive donations.
Thirteen Nashua-area agencies attended the service, after which the food baskets were loaded into their waiting vehicles by Rivier students, coaches, faculty and staff.
Partnering agencies for 2017 include Anne-Marie House; CareGivers, Inc.; Corpus Christi Food Pantry; Greater Nashua Mental Health at Community Council; Healthy at Home; HIV/AIDS Task Force; Keystone Hall; Nashua Foundation for Oncology/Hematology; Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter; NH Catholic Charities; The Salvation Army; Title One; and C.O.R.E. (Community Outreach Resource & Education Center) Nashua.
"This event is more than turkey dinners," says Kristin Nelson, Director of Campus Ministry, "It's a genuine example of loving thy neighbor, of action over self-interest. This is Rivier's mission—transforming hearts and minds to serve the world. Our students thrive when they see the positive impact they can have in the lives of others."