By Helen Stevenson
Despite the winter storm, the Commuter Students Association (CSA) hosted its annual Thanks-Give-Away on Thursday, Nov. 15 on the second floor of McGinley. The fundraiser supports Part of the Solution (POTS), a food pantry in the Bronx.
For a five dollar donation or five cans of food, attendees gained entry to the event, five free raffle tickets, a Thanksgiving feast and a free T-shirt–only a tipping point of what the fundraiser had to offer.
With the raffle tickets, depending on which prize they went for, students had a chance to win a Tiffany tie and cup coasters, an Amazon Echo and Fire Stick, a Kenneth Cole gift card, an Amazon tablet or dinner with university deans.
In McGinley ballroom, CSA set up laser tag for attendees to play with their friends. Henna artists drew elaborate temporary tattoos. There were live performances from a belly dancer, the Fordham b-Sides, Fordham Flava, Candela Latina and the Ramblers. Plus, there was a photobooth.
Joseph Scalisi, FCRH ’20, vice president of CSA, said Thanks-Give-Away is a part of an ongoing effort to give back to the community.
“According to POTS, one out of four people who rely on their services are in poor health, while two out five of children who rely on their services are living in poverty,” he said. “Last year, POTS served meals to over 30,000 people. As Fordham students, we feel like it is important to do our part to help the Bronx community, because we benefit so much from it.”
Vanessa Reyes, FCRH ’19, president of CSA, said because of CSA’s block funding and influence on campus, they have the opportunity to raise awareness and funding for organizations that need it.
“Helping organizations to raise money and also the influence that we have on campus is a way that we can reach a lot of people and get them to donate,” she said.
Although the main goal of the fundraiser is to raise money and cans for POTS, Reyes said it is beneficial to everyone involved, including students of CSA and all other attendees.
“This event is basically free. You just pay for raffle tickets and have a chance to win things at the end of it–so we make sure that this event is open for everyone and everyone is getting something out of it,” she said. “POTS is so grateful for anything we can contribute.”
Elena Wood, FCRH ’21, member of Candela Latina, Fordham’s first Latinx dance group, said the group was honored to participate in the fundraiser.
“POTS is a great organization and we were excited to share our dances with everyone in attendance in efforts to support the Thanks-Give-Away initiative,” she said. “The event had a lot of energy that never let up,” she said.
Wood said that everyone–performers as well as supporters of the Thanks-Give-Away celebration–was equally excited to be there.
“Each of the performances really got me hyped,” she said, “Energy is really important when you’re performing, so Candela was really able to deliver a great performance by mirroring the energy of everyone in attendance.”
According to Scalisi, at the end of the night CSA had collected about 100 cans of food, which was a 75 percent drop from last year.
“Last year, we collected about 400 cans,” he said. “While unfortunate, we attribute this to the poor weather conditions, as many people who attended tonight probably did not find it convenient to go shopping for canned goods or to carry them over to McGinley.”
However, he said the fundraiser collected $1,385 through entrance fees and ticket sales.
“This is up from about $900 last year, so while a trade-off with the cans, we are happy with our final total,” he said.
Overall, Scalisi said, CSA is happy with how Thanks-Give-Away went this year, despite the unfortunate weather.
“To be totally honest, some of us began to lose hope of having a successful event after seeing the weather conditions during the day,” he said. “However, while some things did not go as planned because of this…the feedback we heard throughout the night was all positive and we are glad that everyone who came out seemed to have a good time.”