Thanksgiving Unity Dinner PDF

Event Date: Wednesday November 25, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Pick Up Locations: 1855 University Village Community Center & Union Building
Questions contact: Juan Flores at or 517-862-1480 Kim Steed-Page at or 517-884-0195

Thanksgiving Unity Dinner 2020

Traditionally during the Thanksgiving holiday, Michigan State University’s students and college students all over the state and country travel home to enjoy a festive Thanksgiving holiday weekend with friends and family.  Some students do so with friends from out of state or other countries in tow, but this year with the current pandemic the energy around Thanksgiving is not the same. We have less students residing on campus and many off campus with limited resources due to the pandemic and social distancing policy. Many of these students need a meal and could greatly benefit from the support of their institution by receiving a meal to celebrate Thanksgiving!

In the fall of 2003, Felipe Lopez, a student who then served as an Aide for our Office recognized this need for a group of students living in the halls.  He developed a small program to help students who did not have friends or family with whom to celebrate Thanksgiving at the University receive a meal. At its first occurrence, approximately 30 students participated. Last year more than 500 attended. OCAT brings together members of the faculty, staff and student community serving as volunteers to provide a healthy family friendly event, providing traditional turkey dinners with a variety of side dishes and desserts to student attendees and their family members.

Since its initial occurrence in 2003, each year’s dinner has created more and more enthusiasm from participants as well as volunteers. This year we are partnering with the MSU Student Parents Resource Center and Food Bank to offer distributions sites for students to pick up a meal. Your contribution will enable us to continue our free Thanksgiving Celebration for students. Help OCAT offer an introduction to an American Thanksgiving celebration that brings joy and fellowship to every dinner table.

View Photos from 2019 Thanksgiving Unity Dinner Here. 

View Photos from 2018 Thanksgiving Unity Dinner Here. 

Thanksgiving Unity Dinner History

The Annual Thanksgiving fellowship dinner at Michigan State University is an annual dinner that provides a FREE Thanksgiving meal to students who remain on campus during the Thanksgiving holiday. The Dining Halls in the Residence Halls are closed for the holiday and many students are left without a place to eat for the day. This fellowship dinner began in 2003 with serving 20-30 students in Akers Hall to now serving 200-400 students. The event was started by Felipe Lopez an Intercultural Aide who noticed that many students could not afford to eat during the holiday break. Last year we served a total of 274 students from various backgrounds and cultures. Fresh Turkey dinners and a variety of delicious food are served and several students, faculty, and staff volunteer to serve with their family. This event brings together MSU students from diverse racial, ethnic, international, and domestic backgrounds to share a warm meal in fellowship. Over the last few years we have noticed an increase in attendance by international, migrant, and many other of our diverse student body that might otherwise have spent the holiday isolated in their rooms.

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