Annual Turkey Drive Raises $14,928

Sacred Heart University’s Student Government (SG) held its 12th Annual Turkey Drive on Nov. 2. This event was in partnership with SHU’s Office of Community Engagement and St. Charles Church in Bridgeport.

SG aimed to raise $25,000 to purchase 1,200 turkeys for families across Bridgeport, while the Office of Community Engagement collected non- perishables and canned goods.

Junior Anna Macaulay has taken on the role of Director of Community and Inclusion, a position that is still relatively new on campus. This role takes charge of many aspects of the Turkey Drive.

“Student Government members get to go give the turkeys to the families, so we get to both raise the money and directly see where it is going,” said Macaulay.

Working with Shoprite of Milford, SG orders the turkeys and sets them to be delivered to the Church.

SG, in partnership with the Men’s Division 1 Lacrosse team, unloads the truck and gives out the turkeys to families in Bridgeport.

Sacred Heart student volunteers arrive at St. Charles Church at 7:30 a.m. They begin by unloading the trucks with turkeys and bringing up the bags of non-perishables from the church basement.

The families can either drive or walk up, stopping at various stations including a clothing table, the bags of nonperishable foods, the turkey station, and lastly the Chartwells hot chocolate food truck.

Macaulay said that SG fundriases through a variety of different resources.

The biggest donations for the Drive are from SHU’s alumni network. SG works with the Office of Alumni Engagement to connect with SHU’s alumni network through email and social media.

However, SG is not seeing donations for the Turkey Drive like it used to.

“We have noticed a trend in the past two years or so, of donation rates going down. That can be because of many reasons – financial hardships, etc. But that’s okay, always staying positive,” said Macaulay.

To counter this, SHU’s SG included raffles this year for those who contributed. These included prizes such as Apple Watches and Stanley Cups to encourage students to donate for a chance to win.

“For students, we have been noticing that they prefer an incentive to donate, so we’ve introduced the raffle system,” said Macaulay.

Last year, SG was not able to reach its goal of $25,000, only reaching $20,000. This year, $14,928 was raised. Although this was less than last year and the goal, it ended up being enough to cover all of the turkeys.

“Utilizing our social media networks is really the biggest mode of spreading information about the Turkey Drive,” said Macaulay.

SG does accept donations on the day of the Turkey Drive, Nov. 21, to provide all the funds for the turkeys. On top of this, a second Turkey Drive is planned for December, so the opportunity to donate continues.

Macaulay credits the Director of Community Engagement, Annie Johnson, in helping raise awareness, as well as Director of Student Engagement Alex Barkley, who also acts as the advisor for Student Government.

“Keep checking your email, keep checking your social media – the link is everywhere!” Macaulay said.

To get involved with the distribution of turkeys to families, joining SG would be the first step.

“Starting off as a senator, and then even working your way up to an executive board position to get involved and you can start to run it when you’re an upperclassman as well,” Macaulay said.

“There are real families behind these donations, who have to choose between rent, healthcare costs, childcare costs, and food. Here at Sacred Heart, all of us are so fortunate to be able to attend a private university, and to be able to have all these incredible resources at our fingertips. But still be cognizant of these families in Bridgeport and families in need that don’t have these same resources. Even just $1 can help these families and make a difference,” said Macaulay.

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