ESC Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive

Nov 22, 2010

Lee Campus, November 22, 2010

Edison State Students Creativity and Generosity Amaze Crowds for Annual Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive

A fleet of sailboats, a life size Big Bird, and a 20 pound turkey are all part of the Thanksgiving Feast at Edison State College.  The Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive at Edison State College has culminated in the gift of a traditional family feast for 44 Edison State students and their families.  Every department, office and student club participates in the annual drive, creating baskets filled with the makings of a Thanksgiving meal for students who may otherwise not be able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

 “When we first started giving away Thanksgiving Baskets, our name was Edison Community College. So we have been doing this for many years- 12 to be exact,” explained Patty Bennet in the Office of Student Life who is the director of the annual campaign. “At Edison State, we like to think of ourselves as belonging to one large family.   And as a family, it is crucial to look after the needs of all family members, especially those in significant need.”

Miraculously, the quantity of Thanksgiving Baskets donated has always met the student demand each year. Professors submit the names of student recipients to Student Life in advance of the contest. This year, 44 student names were submitted to be basket recipients and  44 Thanksgiving baskets were given to Edison State College students and their families. The 44th basket was donated on the final day!

Each department or club is responsible for filling and decorating a basket, and the Edison Foundation donates $25.00 Publix gift cards for each group to supplement donated items. This year, students in a 3-D Art class created a 7 foot “Big Bird” character and five baskets of items. (photo attached). The HOPE Scholars presented 3 baskets in the form of a sailboat fleet.  (Photo Attached) and the Bookstore designed a larger than life turkey!

Media is invited to take photos or video of the baskets.

Lee Campus, Richard H. Rush Library

Park in Lot 6

“We are so proud, two students not currently affiliated with any student club donated two baskets in the spirit of Thanksgiving,” said Bennett “The generosity of our students is truly amazing.”

Over the years of preparing Thanksgiving Baskets, something unique developed.  Departments, staff and club members started delivering out-of-this-world, decorated baskets.  Baskets have been created with themes such as New York Thanksgiving Day Parade, a miniature stage-coach wagon filled with food, a recreation of the first Thanksgiving on Plymouth Rock complete with Indians and Pilgrims in attendance. The baskets became so extravagant in design, that a contest was born.  The Thanksgiving Basket Drive and competition has become one of the most fun and creative events of the year for faculty and staff. Votes are currently being counted for student and faculty choice of such categories ranging from “Most Amusing” to Most Beautiful”.

“It is so impressive to see the amount of time and thought that staff and students put into each basket, in addition to the generous amount of food and delightful items is exceptional.    There are no prizes awarded, but to be voted the winner in any category allows for great bragging rights for the year,” explained Bennet. “All the baskets we receive are made with love and a strong dedication to serving our students in need. “

If you would like more information about Edison State Student Life or the Thanksgiving Basket Drive, please contact Patty Bennett at

For media inquiries contact Meg Hawthorne, Public Information Specialist at Edison State College (Lee Campus) 239-489-9306 or

Celebrating nearly 50 years of excellence, Edison State College is Southwest Florida’s largest, most established, accessible and affordable institution of higher education. Proud to be tobacco-free, Edison State serves more than 20,000 students per year in five counties and through the Edison Online virtual campus. For more information please visit