Tis’ the season to celebrate in diversity and give to others


Frank Shala / Valencia Voice

Students from different ethnicity’s partook in the luncheon.

WINTER PARK –  Students and faculty gathered at the Winter Park campus last week for the annual “Multicultural Thanksgiving Lunch,” in an effort to raise money and collect donations for those in need this upcoming holiday season.

The event was also a chance for everyone to enjoy an early feast of some classic Thanksgiving dishes, as well as some traditional dishes from other cultures.

“We have people here at Valencia that come from all over, and have all sorts of different traditions and foods they grew up on so the idea behind the multicultural was to have people bring in food they had growing up at Thanksgiving,” said staff member Sunni Prevatt.

The bigger focus of the day was to collect donations for “Pookie’s Pantry.” Pookie’s Pantry’s mission is to help stop hunger within the Valencia community by making food available to students who struggle to find their next meal.

“I was really impressed with the students generosity, a lot of them couldn’t come today but said the read about Pookie’s Pantry and wanted to help out,” said event coordinator Jill Gable.

Valencia volunteers opened the first location of this food pantry on the West Campus in January.  A second food pantry is now in operation on the East Campus, and the Osceola campus will be opening a location soon as well. Valencia students in need can choose five items every day from the pantry by showing a current class schedule and their student identification card.

“We’ve done different charities in the past, but this year we wanted to focus on Pookie’s Pantry, and the donations were fantastic,” added Prevatt.

The “pot luck” style meal gave everyone an early sampling of the usual turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie as well as some traditional dishes from around the globe like fried rice and mofongo.

“This event is fun and nice, but I love that we are putting food on other peoples tables,” said Gable. “We’re sharing a little bit of time before we all leave for the holidays, and take midterms and finish up, but we’re also paying it forward and helping out.”