Students from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM) are organizing their 21st annual "Project Feast" Nov. 25, a Thanksgiving dinner for homeless and disadvantaged persons in West Baltimore.
Students, faculty, staff, and friends of all six University of Maryland schools in Baltimore will gather at Booker T. Washington Middle School to assist in the midday meal and provide free clothing and non-perishable food items.
It is a Thanksgiving tradition sponsored by the University Student Government Association; the Medical Alumni Association; and the School of Medicine Student Council.
In recent years, there has been a line of people stretching for two blocks waiting to get in when the doors open. In addition to serving a hot Thanksgiving meal, students are collecting clothing, toiletries, and non-perishable goods to be distributed at the dinner.
University President Jay Perman, MD, says, "I am very proud of the 20 years of service by the University of Maryland community who serve the Project Feast Thanksgiving meal to our West Baltimore neighbors and the School of Medicine students who collect donations and organize the event. This is another opportunity for all of our schools to collaborate and make an important difference in our community."
"We're proud that our medical students have taken a leadership role in this ongoing partnership to share the spirit of giving with our neighbors in West Baltimore each holiday season," says E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, vice president for medical affairs, University of Maryland, and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Project Feast is in keeping with the School of Medicine's commitment to supporting our community in West Baltimore in a variety of ways."
Student organizer Yon Park (SOM Class of 2013) says, "I don't think there's any better way to spend Thanksgiving. We go to school here but I don't think most of us are familiar with the community around us. It's also a great way to meet some of the students and faculty around campus."
Another organizer Youngeun Cho (SOM Class of 2013) says, "My experience volunteering last year was really great. The amount of help and enthusiasm from fellow students this year has been amazing. We're expecting a lot of volunteers, and we hope to have a great Thanksgiving Day."
Same day volunteers are asked to report to Booker T. Washington Middle School at 1301 McCulloh St. and help set up food and donations at 10 a.m. Donations include warm winter clothing items, blankets, and non-perishables, and will be collected until the day of the event.
Besides this yearly event, students from the Baltimore campus of the University of Maryland are active in the community through tutoring programs and food drives for the homeless. But Project Feast is a campuswide event that all students look forward to every year.
More than 100 students participated in organizing the event and are serving the meal, clothing, and non-perishable food. Donations were collected from all over campus. Organizers are expecting up to 400 people to be served at the event which begins at 11 a.m.
To view a video of Project Feast from a previous year, click here. Real Player is required.