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Campus Kitchen at W&L Hosts Annual Turkeypalooza This year’s events will kick off on Nov. 11. The community is encouraged to volunteer and donate to support Campus Kitchen’s programming.

The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University (CKWL) presents its annual Turkeypalooza: A Family Table Gathering Event  Nov. 11–18. CKWL hosts several unique events during this series, including holiday meals at partner organizations, a Backpack Pack-a-Thon, a Pumpkin Pieve-K 5k run/walk fundraiser and the annual Indigenous Community Meal.

“As the holidays approach, we at Campus Kitchen are recognizing that in a season characterized by gift giving, this time of year can be especially challenging for families experiencing poverty,” said Ryan Brink, Campus Kitchen Coordinator. “We are attempting to alleviate some of that stress and added financial burden through the provision of hot meals, Thanksgiving supplies, and other groceries.”

On Friday, Nov. 11, the community is invited to “Bring Your Turkey to Work” from 8 to 11 a.m. at the W&L parking deck. Folks can drop off their birds with the “student turkeys” at the top of the deck or make a monetary donation to support Turkeypalooza and other CKWL programs. Turkey donations will help local families have a full meal this Thanksgiving.

The group will host its annual  Backpack Pack-a-thon event on Saturday, Nov. 12 on Cannan Green from noon to 5 p.m. This year, volunteers will pack around 5,000 backpacks to be distributed to Rockbridge County, Buena Vista and Lexington school students over the holidays.

New this year is the Pumpkin Pieve-K 5k run/walk fundraiser on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. The race will begin at the Outing Club Pavilion (159 W. Denny Cir.), and participants can register for the event online. Every participant will receive a t-shirt and a slice of pumpkin pie. CKWL encourages all virtual runners to send them a photo of their run!

There is no race entrance fee, but please consider a donation to benefit the Campus Kitchen.

Turkeypalooza festivities will wrap up with the 2nd annual Indigenous Community Meal on Monday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. in Evans Dining Hall. The event is co-sponsored by W&L’s Native American and Indigenous Cohort (NAIC), the Native American Student Organization (NASO), the Department of Earth and Environmental Geoscience, Campus Kitchen, the University’s Sustainability Committee and the Native American and Indigenous Employee Resource Group. The evening will feature a menu highlighting indigenous ingredients and techniques and includes guided discussions around the history of colonization in America, indigenous sovereignty and the complexities of the Thanksgiving holiday. The public can register for the event here.

Donations to support the Backpack Program and Campus Kitchen’s continued efforts can be made online.

In addition to serving Thanksgiving meals at community partner sites, Campus Kitchen will distribute frozen turkeys and sides through its Mobile Food Pantry program.

Volunteers are needed for multiple events this year and can sign-up for shifts at EngageWLU.

“With plenty of events over this week, there are a number of ways to get involved with this year’s Turkeypalooza,” said Brink. “Whether you are running in the Pumpkin Pieve-K, prepping meals or reflecting on the impact of Thanksgiving narratives on indigenous communities, we hope to see you there.”

The mission of The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee is to use service as a way to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities through food. Campus Kitchen combats hunger and promotes nutrition by recovering and reusing food that would otherwise go to waste into balanced meals for low-income community members in Rockbridge County.