Miami community helps make 2020 holiday season a little brighter: Food drives, meals swipe donations and more

By Susan Meikle, university news and communications 

student-holding-box-of-foodAlthough many holiday season donation campaigns were cancelled on campus this year due to the pandemic, Miami University community members came together to help those in need. Some of the projects this year were modified or scaled back from previous years, but they still made an impact.

Meal Swipe Donation program: 2,542 meals donated

Miami’s Meal Swipe Donation program, which allows students to donate their unused pre-Thanksgiving week buffet meals (swipes) to be available for students in need, resulted in 2,542 buffet meals donated by 565 students.

Held the week before Thanksgiving (Nov. 16-20), this was the second time for the donation program, which piloted in November 2019.  The program is coordinated by campus services, the Student Success Center and Associated Student Government.

Donated meals were transferred into the Miami Cares account, managed by Student Success Center staff.

Residence Hall food drive yields more than 670 pounds for food pantry


Above: Mary Case, associate director for the Wilks Institute for Leadership and Service, helps pick up donations (images courtesy Rob Abowitz).

Normally, food drives and collections of personal care items are implemented in the residence halls at the end of the academic year in May, according to Rob Abowitz, associate director of residence life. "Because of the longer break from living on campus — yet another change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic — a winter break drive was implemented." (Note: Students moved out of residence halls before Thanksgiving this year. Spring semester begins Jan. 25).

Staff in the office of residence life (ORL) and the Wilks Leadership and Service Institute partnered with the student EcoReps to put out collection boxes in all of the residence halls.  After Thanksgiving, items were delivered to the Talawanda Oxford Pantry and Social Services (TOPSS).  

Even with the reduced occupancy on campus (40 percent fewer students) this semester, "it was amazing to see all of the food that was donated and will go to people who need it," said Elizabeth Weber, environmental earth science major and member of the EcoReps leadership team (pictured at top).

The residence hall drive complemented additional drives implemented by the ORL Professional Staff Celebration Committee and the Hamilton Hall Community Leadership Team.

  • 677 pounds of food, personal care items and cleaning supplies were donated to TOPSS. 

Miami Regionals Food Drives

The student groups RA@M (Regional Activities @Miami) and the MU Nursing Student Association collected canned goods to donate to Haven House and Serve City in Hamilton.

Global Neighbors Community Cookie Collectioncookies

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) hosts an annual Global Neighbors Thanksgiving Dinner at Miami that brings together around 300 local community members and international students to build relationships and share American traditions.  

Dan Sinetar, international student coordinator for ISSS, said that due to the pandemic, the event was not held this year. “We still wanted to honor the spirit of this event. So, we reached out to past attendees of this dinner to call for cookie donations to share with international students remaining in Oxford during the winter, many of whom have spent a longer than expected time away from their families due to COVID.”

Dozens of Miami/Oxford community members baked and donated hundreds of cookies (pictured at right). They were distributed earlier this week to about 40 international students, including some who are graduate students with families, Sinetar said.