Alternative Thanksgiving was born a few years ago when community members pulled together to provide LGBT students who had lost their support systems a home-cooked meal surrounded by campus and community allies.

Now, the university’s Office of LGBT Services and the same group of community volunteers are expanding their efforts.

In addition to Alternative Thanksgiving, they will host the Feast on Equality on Nov. 16, a fundraiser to provide programming and other support initiatives for LGBT students. 

“The Feast on Equality is an opportunity for the community to support the work of our office,” said Brian Buford, LGBT services director. “When people hear about the challenges that many LGBT students face–like bullying, isolation, and family rejection—they want to help.  No matter what our political or religious beliefs are, we can all agree that we don’t want these students to fail or lose hope.”

The event will be at the Mellwood Arts Center, 1860 Mellwood Ave. Cocktails begin at 7 p.m. Wiltshire Pantry will cater dinner, which begins at 8 p.m. There will be a brief program about the work of the office, remarks by university Provost Shirley Willihnganz, music and dancing.  

 Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased online. The deadline to purchase tickets is Friday, Nov. 9.

Proceeds from the dinner will go through the Community Assistance Resource Engagement (C.A.R.E.) Fund, part of UofL’s Charting Our Course comprehensive campaign, to provide ongoing support for LGBT students at UofL. C.A.R.E. Fund money will be used to

  • Support LGBT members of the UofL community and their allies, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors
  • Educational, social and supportive programming
  • Coordination for LGBT-related campus groups and clubs
  • Comfortable, accessible space for anyone interested in a place to talk, listen or find support

This is the first signature fundraising event of this scale the LGBT services office has done, Buford said, noting that the support from community members has been “beautiful.”

“This is being done completely by folks in the community,” he said. “They are passionate about making sure LGBT students succeed and overcome the challenges they face.”

More information is at Feast on Equality.

Brandy Warren
Brandy Warren is coordinator for marketing and communications in UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing, where she manages special events and promotes UofL’s Division of Student Affairs. She previously worked at daily newspapers in Kentucky and Alabama.