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Project Feast lets students give back to community on Thanksgiving

Stacy M. Brown | 11/13/2015, 6 a.m.
A Thanksgiving meal for displaced and disadvantaged people and families in West Baltimore will be provided by students at the ...
(Right) People line up to take advantage of all the services available at last year’s event. (Courtesy Photo/University of Maryland)

— A Thanksgiving meal for displaced and disadvantaged people and families in West Baltimore will be provided by students at the University of Maryland School of Medicine for the 26th year.

Students, faculty, staff and others associated with all six University of Maryland-Baltimore schools will gather at Booker T. Washington Middle School on Thursday, November 26, 2015, beginning at 11 a.m. to serve a Thanksgiving meal and provide free clothing, non-perishable food items and fresh produce to those in need.

The program, known as Project Feast, will also offer free health screenings and community health information.

“Over the years, Project Feast has served approximately 8,750 attendees,” said Jake Danoff, one of the students leading the program. “In addition to clothing and canned goods, attendees can also receive fresh produce generously donated by Hungry Harvest.”

Project Feast strives to provide information to participants about local health resources such as health care for the homeless and smoking cessation, Danoff added.

“[The program] also offers health screenings and education to the attendees on topics such as proper over the counter medication use, vaccinations, and diabetes amongst others,” he said.

Organized by Danoff and fellow second year medical students Petya Lozanova, Melissa Langer and Hannah Keliman, Project Feast is sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Medicine; the University of Maryland Medical Alumni Association; the University of Maryland, Baltimore Student Government Association; the University of Maryland School of Medicine Student Council; and Hungry Harvest, LCC.

This year, organizers are again expecting 400 participants and almost 100 volunteers from all the schools on campus.

Project Feast will also partner at this year’s event with Hungry Harvest, a local socially-conscious business that will be providing recovered fresh produce to all guests in attendance.

“We are all very excited for the annual Project Feast Thanksgiving celebration,” Project Feast chair Ruth Young said in a statement.

“This has always been an incredible opportunity for us at the University of Maryland School of Medicine to engage with and serve the community,” Young said. “We hope that the event provides access to a wider range of resources and brings together even more people this year.”

Officials say that volunteers and donations are welcome.

Donations including, warm winter clothing items, blankets, toiletries and non-perishables, will be collected at the SMC Campus Center and other locations around campus until November 25, 2015.

For a list of donation drop-off locations or to volunteer, email: projectfeastumd@gmail.com.