|Mary Kate Berger and Luke Phillips pack boxes at the 11th|
annual Adopt A Basket in the Union ballroom.
Photo by Meredith Parker.
Adopt A Basket was started 11 years ago by faculty members of the University of Mississippi to give back to the Oxford community during the holidays. Since then, it has become a student-led and student-organized event sponsored by the Associated Student Body and the Office of the Dean ofStudents. This year the annual effort to give back to the community attracted an array of organizations on campus like the UM Athletic Association, Student Housing, and Faculty Senate, as well as businesses and organizations off campus like Volunteer Oxford and Aramark.
For two days, Adopt a Basket asks volunteers to collect items and pack them into boxes, so they can be delivered to deserving families in the Oxford and Lafayette community. Each basket contains specific pantry staples, including cornmeal and sugar, as well as canned goods, potatoes and a gift card to a local grocery store. Basket recipients are identified through campus offices and departments, as well as through local community organizations, including Doors of Hope, More than a Meal and Interfaith Compassion Ministry. Although some boxes are collectively taken back to the organization to be passed out, some boxes are delivered individually by Ole Miss students, which gives volunteers like Luke Phillips, a junior public policy leadership major, the opportunity to see his work put into action. “You can see how you are helping the community and who you are helping and that personal connection is what makes Adopt A Basket so special,” Phillips said.