UC Merced students stuck on campus treated to Thanksgiving feast

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- A turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings was served to several UC Merced students to give them a home away from home.

"I want people to be loved and welcome and cherished today," said Jasmine Armstrong, Union Member.

The Thanksgiving feast was organized by the UAW Local 2865 Union, a group representing teacher assistants and research associates.

Armstrong said the idea for this dinner came from a meeting she attended after the presidential election. She said many students at that meeting who identify as part of the LGBTI community, along with several international students, were there sobbing.

"They were in tears, and very scared and they felt like they didn't know whether they belonged here anymore at our university or in this country-- and that broke my heart."

Armstrong said she wanted everyone to take a break from the current political climate.

"Take a breath because we've all been through so much in the last month with the election."

For many of the students, home is thousands of miles away. And they said they were glad to spend the holiday with their Bobcat family.

"This is a good moment for the friends and family," said Giba Dehal, student from Nepal.

"I think it's good to feel a sense of community-- to be able to hang out with other people, to know your not alone kinda," said Katherin Shurik, student from Florida.

For Armstrong, she said it feels good to see fellow classmates from all parts of the world come together to enjoy what the holiday is all about.

"What I'm hoping everyone here today gets from this is that they are loved and that they are cherished, and that they are part of the Bobcat family."
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