Three local organizations are celebrating The Great American Smokeout with a special event this week that encourages community members to go “cold turkey” while also helping the region to Stomp Out Hunger. ACAP’s Healthy Aroostook, TAMC, and UMPI will team up at Gentile Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 to encourage smokers to quit for one day and to help fight hunger in The County in a unique way—by building food sculptures out of canned food and other nonperishables and then donating the materials to those in need.
Community members are invited to stop by Gentile Hall and check out the food sculptures, which will go to County Dialysis Thanksgiving boxes and Catholic Charities after the event. Event-goers can donate $1 or bring a caned good to vote for their favorite sculpture. The sculptures will be placed around the Gentile Hall Gym and interspersed with information tables and booths by Healthy Aroostook and TAMC regarding smoking cessation and making healthy decisions. There will be door prizes, giveaways, and a free lunch provided by Healthy Aroostook: “Quit Cold Turkey” turkey and rice soup and rolls.
ACAP/Healthy Aroostook has hosted Great American Smokeout events for several years and TAMC and UMPI have partnered with them on past events. The national event draws attention to the deaths and chronic diseases caused by smoking. As a special twist on this year’s event, organizers decided to mark The Great American Smokeout by hosting a “stomp out” campaign targeted on hunger.
“We are so thrilled to be partnering with two great community organizations to bring awareness to health and hunger issues in the County,” Vanessa Pearson, Director of Student Success and the Learning Commons, said. “Our students are excited to showcase their creativity in building food sculptures and are thankful for the opportunity to give back to their community. We hope the community will stop by to see the great sculptures our students have created and commit to stopping tobacco use and ending hunger!”
Food sculpture building will be underway on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. through Thursday Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. Organizers expect to have at least 8 food sculptures on display, including a schoolhouse and an American flag, for The Great American Smokeout and Stomp Out Hunger Campaign festivities.
“As part of these festivities, a competition between UMPI organizations versus ACAP/Healthy Aroostook and TAMC to see who can develop the best food sculpture will be a lot of fun and raise awareness for both the Great American Smokeout and Stomp Out Hunger Campaign,” Jo-Ellen Kelley, ACAP Community Education Specialist, said. “We invite the public to stop by to enjoy free turkey soup, vote on their favorite food sculpture and donate a nonperishable food item!”
Officials hope that the event will help to raise awareness about two very important ways to make The County a healthier place.
“We are thankful to partner up with others in the community to benefit two great causes,” Jamie Guerrette, TAMC Community Engagement Specialist, said. “Some of the food donated will be given to County Dialysis for their Thanksgiving baskets with Catholic Charities receiving the rest. There will also be an opportunity to join ‘Beat the Pack’ while at the event for those looking for support to take the decision to stop smoking to the next level.”
All are invited to attend this event. For more information, please contact Pearson at 207-768-9432.