Service members at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, some of whom have not been home for months, were treated with a full Thanksgiving luncheon thanks in part to donations from the University of Arizona.
It was the first time the UA, through the Office of Community Relations, participated in the Thanksgiving Dorm Bash. The annual event, held on base and organized this year by the Tucson Metro Chamber's Military Affairs Committee, provided military dorm residents with a home-cooked meal.
Donations were solicited from the UA community as part of UA Cares, the UA's annual workplace giving campaign. Response came from across campus, including the College of Nursing, the Department of English, the Department of Family and Community Medicine, the Center for English as a Second Language, the Office of the General Counsel, the Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and elsewhere.
"The response from campus was overwhelming," said Sheila McGinnis, the outreach and community partners director for the UA Office of Community Relations.
Donations were collected on campus and taken to the base.
The UA collected 14 hams, sweet potatoes, green bean casseroles, homemade macaroni and cheese, dinner rolls, stuffing, cranberries, beverages and also pumpkin pies and banana bread.
"Our SUV was filled to the brim," McGinnis said.
UA employees also donated cash and grocery store gift cards. Maggie Pitts, an associate professor of communication, collaborated with a first-grade class at Wilson Elementary School to make 50 handmade cards, which were placed on the luncheon tables during the event. Each card carried a personalized message.
In all, more than 300 airmen and firefighters attended the event, held Nov. 16, McGinnis said, noting that other partners included Vantage West Credit Union and Radisson Hotels.
"We heard some great comments from the airmen," McGinnis said. "They were extremely thankful to have home-cooked items."
Photos courtesy of Lilly Berkley, Sheila McGinnis and Ellen Jimenez.