ASU organization offers free Thanksgiving dinner to students without plans

International and domestic students are welcome

A religious organization on campus called Re:vive ASU is offering a free Thanksgiving celebration for students without plans during the holiday season. 

Even though the event was planned to specifically cater to international students, all Sun Devils are welcome to sign up.

Students will get a chance to visit a host family’s home, eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal and make new friends. Nathan Mestler, the campus pastor and coordinator for Re:vive ASU, said. 

While this is the first year the group has offered a Thanksgiving dinner, members of the community have been very receptive to the idea, he said.

Mestler said that within a week of promoting the dinner, over 15 students had RSVP’d, and the number is expected to increase in the coming days.

A recent spike in international students attending the group’s meetings was the inspiration behind offering students the chance to participate in the holiday, he said. 

“We just had the idea because we were meeting lots of international students, and we found out that lots of them just don’t have a place to be at Thanksgiving,” Mestler said.

For Mestler, the opportunity to give someone a chance to fully experience and enjoy the holiday is an important thing, he said.

“Almost everyone we’re meeting from a different country says, ‘I really don’t have plans for that day,'" Mestler said. "I think it’s the normal experience for them. And then the University shuts down so what are they going to do?”

Colin Paine, a music education senior, is the president of Re:vive ASU and has been involved with the group since his freshman year.

Paine said the true purpose behind providing the Thanksgiving dinners is to help the community as well as get involved with students.

“We really want to be able to serve the ASU community,” he said. “We saw a need of people who have never experienced an American holiday, who need a place to go during Thanksgiving, and we wanted to do something about that.”

Allister D’Souza, a graduate student studying industrial engineering, is one of the students partaking in Re:vive’s Thanksgiving program.

D’Souza, who is originally from India, said he’s looking forward to experiencing his first holiday season in America. 

Thanksgiving was something he had only seen in the movies, he said.

“It’s an American culture tradition. In India, it’s an uncommon thing,” he said. “You see in the movies the people enjoy themselves and have a good time with family (at Thanksgiving.)”

While the food is something that caught his attention, D’Souza said he’s mostly excited to be able to spend time in the company of family — even if it’s not his own.

Being with a family, seeing the love they spread among themselves and hearing how they’re thankful for the coming year is what will add to his first Thanksgiving, he said.

“A family experience is what everyone wants to experience (at Thanksgiving),” D’Souza said. “Especially being away from home, very away from home.”

Reach the reporter at Kimberly.Rapanut@asu or follow @kimrapanut on Twitter.

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