For a couple of years now, I have been helping put together thanksgiving dinners for disadvantaged people and families in our community. I started doing this in my sophomore year of high school with one of my classes, Job’s For Maine Graduates. This program or class is all about helping people in need. When I started this class my teacher asked me to be the vice president and help out a little more. When thanksgiving came around he asked me to help out with this event. A lot of people come to help out, even our principal and Tom Saviello one of our town representatives; always show up to lend a hand. This thanksgiving dinner is held at the Mt. Blue High School Cafeteria, on Thanksgiving Day, it’s free of charge but we do accept donations to help fund more projects we do.
We put this together by having students and teachers from our whole school bring in thanksgiving foods like vegetables and pie’s sort of like a food drive, but the grade that brings in the most food gets to pick a teacher that has to kiss a pig. To get the turkeys a few of our local stores donate them and other produce that can be expensive. One of the fun parts is cooking the food, a bunch of highly trained high schoolers ; a few other volunteers and the brains, a group of mom’s and grandmothers come in early to start the cooking . Once we get the food ready we set up the cafeteria with a bunch of decorations and try to make it feel like home as possible My job this year was to serve the food, I think this was the best job I’ve ever had at this event. I liked it because I could see the smiles on every ones face. I loved watching the kids; it’s hard because some of them look like they haven’t eaten in a months. But when they are in line, they say please and thank you and always smile. They also got really excited when reminded that we were serving dessert. This year I felt like there were more people then usual, but everyone was really nice and people treated strangers like family. Usually when we do this event we see a lot of elderly people; it’s not necessarily because they don’t have the money, but more that if they were to make a big meal like this most of it would go to waste or they don’t have them family around because there kids have left home. One family the Allen’s comes every year. They have donated a ton of money but two of their kids have moved out of state and one out of the country, so they save their money and fly them all home for Christmas. I met them the first year I did this, and have seen them every year since. A noticeable difference this year was the amount of younger families that were there. We weren’t sure why, but a lot of the senior citizens like it because it was nice to have kids running around and playing. My teacher thought that it could be due to all the mill closures around us and the lay-offs. This year we had a total of 189 people come, not including our 23 volunteers that helped out. It was one of our biggest turn outs ever. I especially liked this year because of all the kids that were there. It made it feel like one of my thanksgiving dinners were everyone was close and we could play games for hours. My teacher tells my class that we do this to help feed the community but I feel that it’s more than that; I mean I do think that this is great but I also feel that it is to help teach students and the community that by coming together we can accomplish so much more. But after doing this for four years I have realized a few things, one if I ever needed help I would want people to try and do something about it, and two as long as I have what I need to survive I should try and give my extra away.