With Thanksgiving less than a week away, students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff are already showing thanks to their community by helping others. Various student organizations came together on Thursday to donate Thanksgiving baskets during the university’s Annual Thanksgiving Assembly at the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Auditorium.


“It warms my heart that we have over 120 baskets that we’re able to donate to families that are in need,” said Kara Brown, UAPB dean of student activities. “It’s very important for the university to give back on behalf of the community as the community supports the university as well.”


The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership’s basket program has been in place for over 20 years as a way for students to reach out to residents in need in not only Pine Bluff but also Jefferson County during the holidays.


“We teach our student organizations even outside of the classroom to continue to engage and involve themselves in activities within the community and on-campus,” Brown said. “So, for them to support the organizations that have families in need holds a high spectrum.”


Groups including but not limited to Greek-letter organizations, honors clubs and community service organizations donated baskets filled with hams, turkeys and all of trimmings needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner during the assembly. Members of Kappa Alpha Psi made several baskets donned with crimson bows.


“It was extremely important for the young men,” said chapter advisor of Gamma Sigma Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Ray Walker of their participation in the program. “There’s so much going on in the world and everybody has to play a part. So, getting involved by buying the different items and putting them together was a good thing for us to give to people.”


Representatives from UAPB, the Pine Bluff School District, and the Jefferson County Drug Court will deliver some of the baskets, and the rest will be picked up by families requesting assistance.


“This program is teaching students to get involved in the community and help needy individuals that are right here in Pine Bluff,” said UAPB assistant dean of the Student Union Courtney Jackson. “They are helping people right here in our own community. So, it’s very important that the organizations and the students get involved with this program.”