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 8's winning entry.  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 7’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.”

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 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.

And what of the competition? This year saw the first-ever sweep, with Section 8’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 7’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.”

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Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.