Athletics News
Illini Contribute 45 Baskets to Thanksgiving Drive
Freshman linebacker T.J. Neal helped deliver the 45 baskets of Thanksgiving supplies donated by Illinois teams and athletic staff.

Freshman linebacker T.J. Neal helped deliver the 45 baskets of Thanksgiving supplies donated by Illinois teams and athletic staff.

Nov. 15, 2012

Daily Illini article

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics teams and staff contributed 45 Thanksgiving care baskets along with some additional supplies to the university's Office of Volunteer Programs' Thanksgiving Care Basket Drive, which ended Wednesday. This is a three-fold increase over the number of baskets donated by Illini teams and staff in 2011, which helps contribute to the higher need this holiday season.

"Each year, we've had increasing DIA involvement and it's been instrumental in drawing items that are much-needed in the community and also the interest of other students," said OVP program advisor Vaneitta Goines. "As they find that people who are influential on campus are participating, it helps us reach people who may not usually be involved with volunteer programs.

"We really appreciate the extra effort that was put in this year," Goines continued. "The coordinated effort has resulted in tripling the numbers that we received from DIA. Which is really important, because we've received almost double the number of requests from last year. We were able to double the number of the baskets provided to people in the community from 2010 to 2011, and we have more than 200 requests this year."

DIA's involvement is part of the Hometown Heroes program, which provides University of Illinois student-athletes with opportunities to interact with youth from Champaign County and local communities that support Fighting Illini athletics.

"The Thanksgiving basket project is a big one with the student-athletes," senior soccer player and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee leader Marissa Holden said. "This year, the teams have really stepped up. One of the best examples was that the football players raised money and whatever they raised, Coach Beckman agreed to match. So they ended up providing 14 baskets with what they raised. People really put themselves in the shoes of the people who might need help this holiday season."

The baskets include every non-perishable item needed to prepare a Thanksgiving meal, plus other supplies. A full list of items is below:

• 2 cans of green beans
• Can of mushroom soup
• Can of French fried onions
• 2 cans of yams
• Bag of marshmallows
• Bag of brown sugar
• Can of corn/vegetables
• Can of cranberries
• Box of stuffing
• Box of mashed potatoes
• 2 cans of gravy
• Cornbread mix
• Box of macaroni and cheese
• Non-perishable dessert (e.g., cake mix and frosting or can of pumpkin pie mix)
• Any other non-perishable food items
• Cold weather clothing
• $25 gift card for turkey, rolls and pie
• Disposable roasting pan for turkey
• Disposable utensils
• Family Thanksgiving recipes