Friendly competition delivers food to those in need

The Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) participated again in this year’s Harvest Basket initiative designed to provide food to the Johnson Food Shelf.
The representatives from each athletic team gathered donations from their teammates. These donations were compiled into a fund that rivaled those donated by the athletic staff at NVU-Johnson.
Michele Whitmore, associate Dean of Students and SAAC Advisor explained the process.
Looking back over the history of the Harvest Baskets, Whitmore said, “The format of the Harvest Baskets has changed over the years. In years past, the SERVE office had asked each department to create a harvest basket full of all the typical ingredients for a family Thanksgiving feast. The SAAC wanted to be part of this event and decided to challenge each varsity team to create their own basket. This was a fun, successful event for many years.”
Through trial and change, the tradition stayed alive and new students found ways to make this enjoyable for everyone involved.
“Members of the SAAC and campus volunteers also donated their time by participating in a ‘packing party’ to put together the baskets. After all the baskets were complete, student athletes delivered them to the Johnson Food Shelf for delivery,” Whitmore states.
According to Whitmore, Johnson students and staff tallied over 60 Harvest Baskets this year. “With the increase in the number of families struggling to feed their families the SERVE office decided to request monetary donations instead of ingredients as it allowed SERVE to purchase more ingredients with the money donated and provide more harvest baskets for our local families.”
This year was a better turn out as COVID-19 regulations have loosened since 2020. “The only change due to covid-19 has been the number of volunteers allowed to participate in the packing party,” Whitmore said. “Last year, only five volunteers at a time could be in the performance space, masked up, putting the baskets together. This year, we did not have to limit the number of volunteers, but all volunteers still needed to be masked up.”