MIAMI COUNTY — As part of a long standing tradition, Troy Junior High School as a whole geared up to give back in a big way this Thanksgiving.
Students and staff raised money, along with a donation from the Troy Fish and Game to purchase the turkeys, for full Thanksgiving meals complete with all the trimming for 25 junior high families.
The annual Thanksgiving tradition started more than 30 years ago by retired teacher George Snyder, said Angela Clouser, an eighth grade language arts teacher. Clouser led a handful of student council members to shop for pumpkin pies, stuffing, potatoes, dinner rolls and pantry staples at the Troy Walmart on Monday afternoon. Clouser said the Troy Fish and Game is always generous with the school’s annual tradition, which provides funds for all the turkeys for the meals.
Clouser assigned students to “divide and conquer” their list of food items and to track the costs for the meals and box of pantry staples.
Eighth graders Anika Hurley, 13, and Alyssa Kern, 14, filled their cart with carbs — pumpkin pies and dinner rolls — for the families.
“I feel like it helps knowing that people are going to have a good time with their family and not have to worry about having a stressful time preparing a Thanksgiving dinner,” Hurley said. “They can just relax and have fun with their friends and family.”
Anika, along with her mother Shelly, a teacher at the junior high, will help deliver the meals to the families on Tuesday.
“It’s really nice to see the smiles on their faces … it’s nice to help the community,” Hurley said. “Some of the people we are helping are classmates so it’s nice knowing we are helping out friends and classmates so they have an enjoyable day.”
Kern said the fundraiser is more rewarding knowing they are helping out fellow classmates and those in need in their own community.
“You know who you are giving it to, it’s not just a stranger. I feel like it makes it more fun to be able to give to someone you know,” Kern said.
Alivia Worth, 14, and Sienna Mader, 13, shopped for stuffing and spaghetti before searching for boxes of rice and pancake mix for the families.
“To me, helping out during the holidays means giving back to people who don’t have as much as others. It’s also nice because it makes me feel warm inside helping someone else out,” Worth said. “Everyone knows it’s hard to say they need help, but this will make the holiday a bit easier.”
Mader said the Thanksgiving food drive kicks off the season of giving.
“It makes you want to help others, which is a feeling you should feel throughout the year, but it inspires a more intense version of that feeling. It feels nice to go out with the money we raised to actually use it to better our own people’s lives when they don’t have that, so I just think it’s really nice,” Mader said.
Eighth-grade students Jacob Comer, 14, and Logan Overmyer, 13, were on the hunt for jars of peanut butter and jelly. The pair decided to do half creamy and half crunchy spreads and cleared the shelves of the jelly options.
“It feels good to help. Some people can’t afford to do the big dinners, so this is nice,” Comer said.
“I just like helping people,” said Overmyer, whp said they also help sort food drive donations, checking for expiration dates and organizing the donated goods to benefit the 25 families.
Troy Junior High School health teacher Joann Raterman also helped coordinate the annual fundraiser.
On Tuesday, students packed boxes of food items to go with the full Thanksgiving meal to deliver to the 25 families. Students loaded up staff vehicles with the meals, which were delivered after school.
It’s just part of the junior high tradition.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org
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