This article originally appeared on WYDaily.com
A long line of students, faculty and their families formed last night at the William & Mary Bookstore to donate canned goods to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank.
William & Mary Night, an annual event, was hosted by Merchants Square in conjunction with the W&M Bookstore and the W&M MBA Association.
The first 400 guests to donate three or more nonperishable food items received a special holiday-themed commemorative T-shirt. After the exchange, many visitors got a picture with Santa in front of his sleigh.
Outside the bookstore, students and other community members enjoyed surprisingly warm weather while chatting or listening to the holiday carols of the Williamsburg Waites.
The Trellis provided free chili, cider and hot chocolate, and Wythe Candy & Gourmet Shop also offered free desserts. The bookstore and candy shop both gave a discount to anyone with a W&M ID, and DoG Street Pub had $5 meal and drink specials until 9 p.m.
Cathy Pacheco, general manager of the W&M Bookstore and vice president of the Merchants Square Association, said it was the best turnout she had seen in the four years of the event.
William & Mary Night seeks to connect the college community with Colonial Williamsburg, said Marina Ashton, director of commercial properties for Colonial Williamsburg.
“They really get to know who we are,” she said.
Louise Pritchard, of Pritchard Volk Consulting — which did marketing for the event — agreed it was a nice partnership between the colonial area and students enjoying a bit of fun before exams start next week.
She said that while faculty and staff join as well, the event is a huge draw for students because of the exclusive holiday shirts. The design was created by Barnes & Noble, and features a Tribe-inspired tree. Each of the four William & Mary Nights has had its own special shirt.
“You can only get these here, this is it,” Pritchard said.
MBA Association students volunteered to collect cans and hand out shirts. Suzi Maricic of W&M’s Community Services MBA Program said the event was a fun way to assist the community.
“I don’t think we’re aware of how many people go hungry each year,” Maricic said.
Pritchard said the event collected 600 pounds of food last year, and looked to reach that same total with what was collected last night.