Jennifer Jones packed a turkey into a donation box and looked out over the assembly line of over 200 volunteers, including about 20 students from the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

CU Anschutz student volunteers
A group of CU Anschutz students are excited to pitch in at the meal-preparation event.

The students were all smiles as they took time out of their busy schedules to help feed the community at the The Epworth Foundation event. The CU Anschutz Student Senate organized the service day.

‘Very rewarding’

“I had never done anything like this before,” said Jones, a PhD candidate in the Graduate School. “I had no idea what a huge event this was. There were so many volunteers. It was very rewarding to see how just a little bit of time can be used to help so many people and families.”

CU Anschutz student Rebecca Kretschmer
CU Anschutz student Rebecca Kretschmer empties a box of food.

The annual event commemorates the memory of longtime Denver resident Bruce Randolph, who for several decades led a tradition of feeding Denver’s neediest families over Thanksgiving. More than 6,000 frozen turkeys, boxes of macaroni and cheese, cans of cranberry sauce and many other Thanksgiving staples sat on palettes ready to be redistributed to families in need of a holiday meal.

‘This is amazing’

Like a well-oiled machine, empty boxes were transformed into a full Thanksgiving meal for families in need.

“This is amazing,” said Jillian Milke, a student in the Physical Therapy program in the School of Medicine. “As chair of the philanthropy committee in the Student Senate, I’m so happy with the turnout of students.”

When the event ran out of boxes to pack the meals in, CU Anschutz students sprang into action and used their problem-solving skills. They suggested a new packing method by repurposing unused cardboard boxes, and the volunteering was able to continue.

“It was great to work with students from different schools on campus,” said Jones. “I’ll definitely be back next year. Hopefully we can have even more students join us!”