Dozens of volunteers from Texas A&M University-Commerce and the community came together to offer their time and energy giving back to those in need this holiday.
Hunt County Gives (HCG) is an annual event administered by Hunt County Shared Ministries, also known as FISH. Each year, FISH partners with local organizations, businesses and community members to provide food donations to families in need for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
As part of Hunt County Gives, the A&M-Commerce Office of Intercultural Engagement & Leadership partnered with FISH to help facilitate the volunteer efforts. Also lending assistance was the Department of Campus Operations & Safety, Judy Sackfield (VP for Student Success and Dean of Students), Athletics, Facilities Management and Support Services, University Police Department and the Department of Music collaborated with FISH on this year’s effort.
Fifty-two volunteers affiliated with the university and community packed 668 baskets of food at the old Watson Cafeteria building, the former site of the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum, in Commerce. The food was distributed to families in an event held outside of Memorial Stadium on the campus of A&M-Commerce.
Wally Jeffers, executive director of Hunt County Shared Ministries, stressed the importance of the donations during the unprecedented times of hardship that many families face due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year, the pandemic has significantly affected the needs of many families,” Jeffers said. “Many households are stretched far beyond their means. Through HCG we can provide not just a holiday meal but a generous donation of nutritious food to feed the family for up to a week.”
Jeffers continued: “HCG only works because the whole community makes an investment in this project. From the generous donations to purchase turkeys, or the food drives that are hosted to fill the baskets, or the volunteers who give of their time to help sort and pack the baskets, it all matters.”
Katy Williams, assistant director of Intercultural Engagement & Leadership at A&M-Commerce, said the Lion community is part of the greater Hunt County community and that the university is excited to assist with these efforts.
“A&M Commerce is part of the Commerce and Hunt County communities,” Williams said. “There was a community need and we were 100% capable of aiding in that need, we just had to navigate within the circumstances and safety guidelines around the pandemic. We are excited to be part of such a collaborative effort made possible by FISH along with numerous campus departments, community organizations and volunteers.”