VERMILLION, S.D. – For the last decade, the USD Sanford School of Medicine has planned an event to help foster the spirit of the holidays. For its 10th consecutive year, the Sanford School of Medicine and USD School of Health Sciences hosted the Vermillion Welcome Table, an event that brings hundreds in the community together for a holiday meal.
This year’s event was held Dec. 4 in the School of Medicine Atrium. The Sanford School of Medicine and School of Health Sciences were assisted by other USD organizations, as well as the USD football team, Charlie Coyote and even Santa Claus.
Wendy Pederson, event organizer and graduate/education coordinator for the Department of Basic Biomedical Sciences, said they served about 270 people. “This is a great community-wide event as it involves various student organizations, as well as the football team, Charlie Coyote and community members. This is the time of year that people are missing families and loved ones the most. This event gives them a touch of the holiday spirit and is a comfortable and fun time for all.”
The event was initiated in 2008 as a community service project by the university departments housed in the Lee Medical Building, but has evolved into a USD effort that is also a celebration of the relationship the university has with the community of Vermillion.
The Welcome Table dinner occurs every Monday evening from 5:30-7 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Vermillion. The Vermillion Welcome Table helps the community year-round, in and out of the holidays. Additionally, although the Christmas collaboration occurs only once every year, the church and the Sanford School of Medicine work together year-round to collect food for the backpack program.