UF/IFAS gives back at Thanksgiving

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For some, Thanksgiving means more than gobbling turkey and watching football. It’s the season of giving thanks and giving back to the community.

Many faculty, staff and students at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences go the extra mile to help others during the holiday.

Here are some examples:

  • The UF Field and Fork Food Pantry opened in August and offers members of the UF community healthy, nutritious food free of charge to anyone with a valid UF ID. In support of the pantry, the J. Wayne Reitz Union will serve as a donation location through Nov. 23. To donate food, go to the Reitz Union’s 1st floor Information Desk near the Career Resource Center. Acceptable donations include non-perishables such as canned vegetables, canned/dried fruits, soups, peanut butter and hot or cold breakfast cereals. All food drive proceeds will benefit both the Field and Fork Food Pantry and the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank. Contact Kevin Florez at KevinF@union.ufl.edu. The pantry is at 564 Newell Drive, just south of the Marston Science Library and behind the McCarty D and Food Science and Human Nutrition buildings on the UF campus in Gainesville.

  • LegA-Z Soccer Academy is setting up a food drive for families in the club to help donate dry goods to those less fortunate in the Gainesville community, said Tony Vu, a junior in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. Food donations will be collected for two weeks up until Thanksgiving. “We are doing our best to teach our players the importance of giving and sacrifice,” Vu said. “Many people in my life have been giving to me, and I want to reciprocate the gesture to those in need because I am able and it is my social responsibility to help in the community.” toe.knee.vu13@gmail.com.
  • Every month, Sheri Munn and her mom cook and take a dinner to the veterans’ transitional housing facility on Northeast 39th Avenue in Gainesville. Thanksgiving will be no exception for Munn, assistant director of property and facilities administration at UF/IFAS Facilities Planning and Operations. 352-294-3801, sheri1@ufl.edu.
  • Kimberle Rollins, administrative assistant in the UF/IFAS Extension dean’s office, is participating in a weight-loss challenge to collect donations to the Field and Fork MyPlate Food and Funding Drive. Already, the pantry has helped more than 950 people and handed out more than 9,000 pounds of food. 352-392-1761, rollikr@ufl.edu or Anna Prizzia, 352-294-2208, aprizzia@ufl.edu.
  • On Thanksgiving Day, Monica Dawkins, supervisor of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program for the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade County Extension, will help another church in its community outreach in North Miami by helping prepare and serve a meal for very low-income people and the homeless. Then on Saturday, Nov. 28, Dawkins will help her church as they assist the Chapman Homeless Shelter in downtown Miami. The shelter houses about 300 residents. 786-391-0539, MDawkins@ufl.edu.
  • As part of the UF/IFAS Farm to City Program, the University of Florida’s West Florida Research and Education Center will join forces with the Bay Area Food Bank, Waterfront Rescue Mission and the Guy Thompson Community Center to feed 700 local families during National Farm to City Week, Nov. 20 to 26. Contact West Florida REC Director Wes Wood, 850-475-5230, woodwes@ufl.edu. The UF/IFAS Escambia County Extension Office will also participate in this effort, and jars of peanut butter from the Extension office’s Peanut Butter Challenge will be included, said Angela Hinkle, an Extension agent with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. Contact Hinkle at 850-475-5230, ahinkle@ufl.edu.
  • As it does each week, the Plant Science Research and Education Unit will deliver produce to the Marion County jail, said Danny Colvin, director research programs at the plant science center; 352-591-2678, dlcol@ufl.edu.
  • The Campus Kitchen at UF is planning a post-Thanksgiving community dinner, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 4, for residents of the Porter’s community in Gainesville, said UF/IFAS nutrition and health Professor Linda Bobroff. “We will be cooking some dishes and hope to get donations from local chefs who have been extremely generous in providing delicious food for past community dinners,” said Bobroff, a faculty member in the UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. See the Campus Kitchen Facebook page for more information and photos from last year’s community dinner: https://www.facebook.com/CampusKitchenUF. The national organization can be found at this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/campuskitchens/. 352-273-3521, bobroff@ufl.edu.

-30-

By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu