1,000 community members to be fed through “Thankful For You” event hosted by Eastern Michigan University, Hundley Foundation and Chartwells Higher Education at Eastern

An overhead view of a festive table filled with traditional Thanksgiving fare.

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is partnering with the Hundley Foundation (HF) and Chartwells Higher Education at EMU to give community members something to feel grateful about during a “Thankful For You” event just in time for the holiday season. The Friendsgiving-themed event is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 16 from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. 

“Thankful For You” is a two-part event in honor of the campus community and surrounding areas to promote a sense of togetherness and thankfulness during this season of giving. Thanks to the generosity of the Hundley Foundation, community organizations will receive more than 1,000 Thanksgiving meals delivered or served by student volunteers, former EMU football player Samuel Estes, EMU President James Smith and his wife Connie Ruhl-Smith, members of EMU athletics and Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels. They will provide Thanksgiving staples like brown sugar glazed ham, classic dressing stuffing, and cranberry relish to numerous community organizations in Ypsilanti. Starting at 4 pm on Eastern’s campus, guests and the campus community will be treated to a traditional Thanksgiving feast featuring a holiday-cooking demo, raffles, canned food drive, and more.

“I’m excited to partner with my alma mater and Chartwells to lead such an important mission in spreading holiday cheer and providing hot meals to those in need,” said Samuel Estes, EMU alumnus and Vice-Chairman of the Hundley Foundation’s Board of Directors. “It is an absolute privilege to come back home to Metro Detroit and provide these much-needed meals to the less fortunate and let them know that we are here for them.”

“Thankful For You” is an extension of “Thank-Ful,” an annual national event spearheaded by Chartwells, the national food service management company behind the University’s EDining operation.  

“At EMU, we are always looking for ways to interact with our greater campus community, and Thank-Ful is a great moment to express our gratitude to each other,” said Ali Duceatt, resident district manager, Chartwells @ EMU. “Through Thank-Ful, students will have a unique opportunity to give thanks for what they have, celebrate their community, and share with those in need through food-focused give-back activities. This year, the impact will be even greater thanks to the generosity and spirit of the Hundley Foundation.”

“This event is an opportunity for Eastern to collaborate with organizations and alumni and extend our gratitude for the community in which we work, live, and play,” said Decky Alexander, professor and director of Engage @ EMU. 

Lunch meals will be distributed off-campus from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. to the following organizations:

*Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels –At 11:30 a.m. EMU President Smith and his wife, EMU athletes and volunteers will deliver meals to residents in the community.

Family Empowerment Program – five drop-off locations, including “meet and eat” opportunities with residents and special guests.

Ypsilanti Senior Center

For more information, visit the webpage.

About Chartwells
Chartwells is the recognized leader in contract food service management, hospitality, and award-winning guest service within over 300 college and university dining environments throughout academic institutions across the U.S. Chartwells' nutritious cuisine not only satisfies the unique appetites, lifestyles, and dietary needs of every guest dining on campus, but it also brings people together to promote the high-intensity relationships that will prepare students for the future. For more information, visit

www.ChartwellsHigherEd.com, www.ChartwellsMonthly.com, www.DineonCampus.com.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

About the Hundley Foundation
The Hundley Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in need. The foundation creates and implements initiatives that focus on health, education, diversity, mentorship and awareness for communities that are disenfranchised and underserved. Founded by NFL QB Brett Hundley in 2019, the foundation has provided scholarships, internships, art therapy, support groups and a fatherhood program since its inception. For more information, join #TheTEAM or to make a donation, visit www.hundleyfoundation.org 

November 02, 2022

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher