As the holidays neared and temperatures dropped, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement joined forces with local organizations and the campus community to provide holiday meals and winter clothing to Winston-Salem residents. In all, 260 holiday meal bags, 107 coats, 80 blankets, 80 pairs of warm socks, and 48 winter hats were distributed to the community through the winter food and coat drive.
“We’re entering a colder time of year right now, so the winter food and coat drive allows us to provide additional resources and supplies to folks in our community who may not have these items readily available,” said Brad Shugoll, associate director of service & leadership. “It’s an opportunity for our students at Wake Forest to not only see the challenges faced by members of our community, but to respond to the needs of our community as well.”
The OCCE, in partnership with Harvest Table Culinary Group, held a warm clothing and blanket drive coordinated around the Lighting of the Quad ceremony at the Wake Forest Reynolda campus on November 30. During the festivities, Wake Forest students, faculty, and staff donated 35 blankets and raised $1,000 to purchase additional blankets and coats. A week-long coat drive by Harvest Table provided an additional 28 winter coats for the initiative.
A $2,500 grant from the Alliance for Strong Families, helped round out the drive, allowing the OCCE to provide an additional 80 pairs of warm socks, 79 winter coats for adults and children, 48 winter hats, and 45 blankets.
The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest also worked to prepare 110 holiday meal bags that contained shelf-stable and canned food items, including vegetables, cornbread mix, instant mashed potatoes, hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, cake mix, and more. Items for the bags were supplemented with the funds from the Alliance for Strong Families grant, and donations from both the WFU Business School and Turkeypalooza canned food drive.
In addition to the holiday meal bags prepared by Campus Kitchen, Food Lion generously donated an additional 150 meal kits to the endeavor, allowing the initiative to reach more families this holiday season.
“It is encouraging to see all of these organizations come together with Wake Forest,” said Shugoll. “It shows the collaborative spirit of our community and the willingness of our partners to come together to address these critical moments. Having everyone come together for this effort allowed us to do three times as much as any one of us could have done alone.”