OGDEN, Utah –With a sleigh full of…Spam? Santa’s sled will run a little off course and make a stop at Weber State University to collect donations for the fourth annual “Fill the Sleigh” event in the bookstore Dec. 5 from 1 to 7 p.m. High on the list of needs this year is Spam and other precooked canned meats.
The jolly old elf and two of his reindeer will greet guests and collect the canned meat and other high-need items such as peanut butter, grains and soap. While not bringing visions of sugarplums, they will bring much-needed nourishment and hygiene to Ogden families.
“More than 14,000 pounds of donations came in last year,” said Amber Robson, marketing manager for the bookstore. “What started as a simple food drive has turned into a huge campus-wide event that reaches far into the community through the Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank.”
Donations will provide free entrance to the event, featuring a visit with Santa and his reindeer Snowflake and Blitzen, along with a complimentary holiday craft. Families are encouraged to bring their own cameras to document the festivities.
The food bank is currently serving 2,300 households, nearly double from two years ago. “It used to be that families came in only on an emergency basis,” said Marcie Valdez, director of Northern Utah’s food bank. “Now they use our panty as a permanent food source.”
Generous holiday donations will keep the shelves stocked through March. “Most of us won’t miss one or two cans of food,” Valdez said. “But when we put them all together, it makes a huge difference and guarantees that nobody will go hungry.”
In past years several departments at WSU have chosen to skip out on office gift giving and pooled money for sleigh donations as an alternative.
In collaboration with the Community Involvement Center, WSU-issued parking tickets, up to $20, will be waived in return for high-need donations. Other requested items include cereal, pasta, rice, large-sized diapers, baby formula and holiday food products.
Santa and his reindeer will head back to the North Pole following the event, but his sleigh will remain in the bookstore for donations through Dec. 22