By Audrey Callaway Scherer,
Photo by Audrey Callaway Scherer/Chronicle photo
Balkissa Ouedraogo, Richard Parcel, Tiffany Madrid and Jasmine Madrid enjoyed their food from the Hot Meal for The Holiday event.
The SSC 108 Community, which includes ECOS (CNM’s student government) and the departments of Student Activities, Job Connection Services, Adult Basic Education, and Global Education, is open to event ideas and would love to do more like the widely appreciated “Hot Meal for the Holiday” event, said Student Events Manager Nicole Romero.
“We got great feedback – the students are really appreciative, and they’ve never seen anything like this at CNM before,” she said. “So, they’re really excited and hope that it’s something we continue to do.”
She said that her department, Student Activities, is listening and that she feels ECOS is also listening as they are very active right now and really want to support the students.
There are a lot of clubs organizing and people who just want to come together and do things, she said. Some of these groups want to step up and put in the work and be able to do events like the Hot Meal event.
Even if unrelated to a holiday, she encouraged anyone interested in doing an event for students or the CNM community to fill out an online ECOS special funding request, which is available to anyone and goes directly to ECOS for review.
“We would love to do it, we are open to it, . . . whatever people want to do. And as long as it’s for the students, it’s more than likely that we’re going to do it,” she said.
At the Hot Meal event, over 100 plates were served and they were almost out of food 20 minutes before the end, which was amazing, Romero said. Families, children, students, and spouses all showed up.
“We actually had people waiting for us here at 5 o’clock,” she said. The event lasted until about 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Main campus on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
They bought seven hot trays of different dishes serving about 10 to 12 people a piece from Furr’s Cafeteria, who was offering good deals for the holidays. The dishes included potatoes, macaroni, green beans, ham, turkey, rolls and pie, she said. Their departments provided soda, water and coffee.
The event also had door prizes – as people arrived, they were given a ticket for a chance to win various donations from different departments at CNM, particularly in SSC building.
“Again, all the students had to do was show up and be hungry,” she said.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Romero
Donated gifts and baskets for door prizes were displayed on a table at the end of the buffet.
The donations mostly included gift baskets, including a movie basket and a kids’ basket with coloring books and crayons, but also included miscellaneous items like Smith’s gift cards and CNM gear from Follett Bookstore, such as sweatshirts and cups. They ended up with about twelve door prizes, she said.
In addition to the departments’ donations, several CNM employees volunteered a couple hours of their time to help during the event rather than going home when they got off at 5 p.m.
“I think that shows also a change of culture within CNM, because people are wanting to be giving and helpful and focus on the students,” she said.
Two parents, Maria and Javier, came because Maria had seen a flyer and another student invited her that morning. Javier said it was a great opportunity to come together and get along with peers and Maria said the same.
“Thank you . . . It was delicious and was a great opportunity to share with the CNM Community and our family,” Maria said.
The SSC 108 Community originated the idea for the Hot Meal event. They usually meet about once a week to exchange updates but this time, they wanted to do something special for the holiday, she said. They thought providing a hot meal before Thanksgiving would be great in case some students would not have one otherwise.
The group submitted a proposal to ECOS about two weeks beforehand and she said the process moved quickly.
“Everybody had their tasks,” Romero said.
The event’s success was largely due to the high motivation of about five group members who took the lead on its planning – asking for donations, doing decorations, ordering food – and a supervisor, Eugene Padilla, who was excited and supported it 100 percent, she said.
“It’s just amazing. It’s nice to see smiles and play with the kids, and I think it just brings back that reminder about family and the holidays,” she said. “It’s very touching.”