Donations Needed to Provide Food to Hungry Community

Annual 'Adopt-a-Basket' program to provide meals for eighth consecutive year

OXFORD, Miss. – As the holiday season approaches, the University of Mississippi will once again provide food for members of the Oxford community in need. After collecting more than 1,000 baskets over the past five years, the annual “Adopt-a-Basket” program is seeking donations and volunteers to help feed families throughout the area.

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and Volunteer Services, donations of specific non-perishable food items as well as gift cards are needed so that over 200 baskets may be delivered the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 14.

“We live in a community where need is ever present and where several local agents work hard every day to make sure these families’ needs are met,” said Valeria Ross, assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs and volunteer services. “Giving to Adopt-a-Basket is a way members of our university can assist the local community and help those in need.”

Ross said the program is a university-wide endeavor. The UM Physical Plant department donates the boxes for the items while Interfaith Compassion Ministries, Aramark and other university personnel provide names of families who may benefit from receiving baskets. In addition, fraternities, sororities and many other student organizations and departments donate their time and manpower each year.

Items that individuals, student organizations or departments should purchase for baskets include a $35 gift card from Wal-Mart, Kroger or Big Star, along with the items listed below.  Gift cards are given to families to assist them with the purchase of perishables such as turkey or ham, milk, eggs, butter, rolls and pie crusts.

The following is a list of nonperishable items needed for each basket:

-       2 large cans of corn

-       2 large cans of green beans

-       2 cans of chicken broth

-       1 can of cranberry sauce

-       3 pounds of sweet potatoes

-       3 pounds of white potatoes

-       1 can of sweetened condensed milk

-       5 pounds of sugar

-       5 pounds of corn meal

-       1 large onion

Coordinators ask that volunteers adhere to the aforementioned list. The items may be dropped off at the Union Ballroom on Monday, Nov. 12 and Tuesday Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to noon. Along with items and gift cards to give to the families, Ross said volunteers are needed to assemble and pack boxes.

Volunteers are needed to help packing baskets during the same times as well as delivery on Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Individuals interested in volunteering their time are encouraged to contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 662-915-7247 or by emailing Ross at vross@olemiss.edu.