‘Helping Hams’ for families on Christmas

Associated Students Inc. is collaborating with Gibson Farm Market and the Bulldog Pantry to bring hams and other groceries to families in need this holiday season through its ‘Helping Hams’ campaign.

This is the first ‘Helping Hams’ campaign organized by Fresno State.

In the past, Fresno State has had similar campaigns, such as ‘Give a Gobbler,’ but due to the national turkey shortage, hams replaced turkeys on the menu.

ASI programs and volunteer coordinator Ashleigh Rocker said it’s undecided whether or not this will be a new tradition, but that the campaign has been successful thus far.

The campaign’s goal was to raise $3,000 in a month and give away 150 hams.

“A few weeks ago when Chancellor Timothy White was here, we had him pardon a turkey named Pepper to kick off the first season of giving away hams,” Rocker said. “I am not sure if this will be the new tradition, but for this year, it’s working very well.”

The campaign began on Nov. 18 and will continue through Monday. ASI held a press conference at the farm market, during which Fresno State President Joseph Castro purchased four hams to kick off the campaign.

Rocker said they are very happy with the response so far and will announce the final counts once the campaign ends.

“I am very humbled and impressed by the outpouring of the Fresno State community thus far, especially the generous donations made by staff and administration,” Rocker said.

Bulldog Pantry Leadership Board Member, Kelly Miller, has volunteered 10-20 hours a week at the pantry since its inception in late 2007.

“For the university students, staff, and faculty, to come together for ‘Helping Hams’ . . . is an amazing thing.

“Students should know the impact they can have on their community. Events like ‘Helping Hams’ brings their power to strengthen their communities to light and hopefully starts that fire inside them to continue that impact through philanthropy to any community they choose to be a part of.”

The hams will be delivered on Dec. 19 to families in need in the Sierra Madre and El Dorado Park neighborhoods.

“The main goal of every holiday outreach we do is the same, whether it’s turkeys, hams, or bags of groceries,” Rocker said. “It’s to provide food to insecure families in the communities surrounding Fresno State and to give our students the opportunity to learn to give back.”

Miller said the families they serve often don’t know how they will get their next meal and sometimes skip meals because they don’t have the means to buy the food they need.

“For our families to be able to not only feed themselves this holiday season, but to also be able to take part in something special, a ham, means more than just a full belly, it means a sense of normalcy,” Miller said. “Donations like these say to the families that the community cares about them, and that they deserve not only the basic necessities, but that they deserve to feel special and thrive.”

Hams and donations can be dropped off at the Gibson Farm Market on Chestnut north of Shaw. All checks are payable to Gibson Farm Market.