William & Mary

Annual BLSA Thanksgiving basket competition helps families in need

  • Touching many lives:
    Touching many lives:  Members of BLSA make a huge difference every year by helping provide Thanksgiving dinners to needy families in the community.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Touching many lives:
    Touching many lives:  Section eight's entry, "Assault and Battery," took the prize for both “Best Content,” but also “Most Creative Display.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Touching many lives:
    Touching many lives:  Section 15's entry, "Supreme Court," came in second in best overall category.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Touching many lives:
    Touching many lives:  Section seven's entry, "Photo Booth," came in third.  Photo by David F. Morrill
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A replica of the Supreme Court building. A rendition of Winterfell Castle from Game of Thrones. A slice of pumpkin pie (with whipped cream) and a fork. A William & Mary photo booth.

These were just some of the creative entries in this year’s 16th annual Thanksgiving Basket Competition sponsored by William & Mary Law School’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA).

“This is BLSA’s biggest community service activity for the year, and what makes it so special — beyond that it touches so many lives within the Williamsburg community — is the fact that it is a community effort,” said Shevarma Pemberton J.D. ’18, coordinator of this year’s competition. “We received a lot of support from faculty and staff, students, and local grocery stores and for that we are immensely grateful.”

{{youtube:medium:left|PDmkL2lz54U, Turkeypalooza 2016}}

During the competition, first-year students representing sections of the Legal Practice Program create displays from a wide variety of canned and boxed foods. The idea is to engineer an inspiring display and collect the most amount of food items.

This year’s competition saw 1L students collect 2,000 canned and boxed food items and coupons. BLSA also raised $610 and was able to provide 19 turkeys thanks to generous donations from W&M Law School faculty and local grocery stores Farm Fresh and Food Lion on John Tyler Highway, The Fresh Market and Walmart Neighborhood Market. 

All items were then delivered to the William & Mary Campus Kitchen, which organizes the food into baskets, adds a turkey and delivers them to local families.

Students with the W&M Campus Kitchen organize the goods donated by the Black Law Students Association. (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)And what of the competition? This year saw the first-ever sweep, with section eight’s “Assault and Battery” taking not only the prize for “Best Content,” but also “Most Creative Display” and “Judge’s Choice" for overall winner. Section 15’s entry (“Supreme Court”) came in second, and section seven’s “Photo Booth” came in third.

“A lot of people thanked us for doing the drive, but we really could not do it without their support,” Pemberton said. “Working behind the scenes with all the wonderful, generous people who helped to make this year's drive such a success, made this experience a special one for me.”