As temperatures begin to drop and decorative lights start to make appearances around the city, the season of giving comes into full swing. Not as well-known as the seasons of summer or winter but still a time of year that many people participate. 

The cold and the holidays remind people to give to their community or to people in need. It is a time of year when people are more charitable in spirit, giving time, donations and money to local nonprofits. 

Tom's Turkey Drive

“I give because I know what it’s like to go without, especially during the holidays, and Tom’s Turkey Drive gives people full Thanksgiving meals so I can get behind that,” said Peter Hixler, a community member from North Spokane, who bought two Tom’s Turkey Drive meals.  

Tom’s Turkey Drive is an event in the Inland Northwest through Second Harvest and KREM that collects 11,000 turkey meals for families of four so that everyone can have a good holiday. This is a massive event that relies on the generosity of the community to both purchase and donate the meals but also the volunteers that sort and distribute the meals. 

“My time is sometimes all I have to give, so I’m here because I care for my neighbors,” Susan Aton, a volunteer at Tom’s Turkey Drive.  

Meals on the Margins

Kayla Kim, a senior sociology major, has plans to go above and beyond the standard season of giving. Partnered with her friend Bassel Muffareh, a senior human physiology major, will be going out into the community for their second Meals in the Margins, a program they are creating. 

For Kim, she was sprung into action during a sociology class when she learned that most shelters don’t open until Nov. 1, and that many could become very sick or die from exposure even before that date. Kim reached out to Muffareh and together the idea of Meals in the Margins was born. 

“There are more than just tangible items that are needed that have the same or possibly more value,” Kim said, referring to the importance of conversation and feeling seen by other human beings.  

Meals in the Margins is all based around intentionality.

Three teams will work together to bring a homecooked meal, a care package of essentials and conversation to a few people each of the four days during finals week. The first team will cook the meal and pack the care package, the second will go into the field to share a meal and conversation with people living with homelessness and the third team will be a prayer sponsor. 

“We decided to do this over finals week to remind us that when the world pushes us to believe that exams are the most important thing, they’re not and to go and be present in our world and community,” Kim said.

Kim and Muffareh have been raising money in order to purchase the food for the meals as well as essentials for the care packages. Each package will contain at least a blanket and snacks but will likely have many more goodies like transportation passes. 

With a goal of raising $200 and feeling like that was generous, Kim put an ask out on her Instagram story. Close friends, friends from years ago and even parents began sending her money through Venmo. Within 30 minutes, $105 was raised and within a single day, they have raised $546. This combined with some previous fundraising will give Meals in the Margins over $700 to utilize. 

“I am so touched by the generosity of people, I think I have happy cried ten times,” said Kim.

The plan is to not spend all the money for the one week but to stretch it so that Meals in the Margins can be a continual process and impact more people through next semester. 

Shelby Walker is a contributor.

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