For children who don’t have as much as other families, the holidays aren’t quite as joyous as they should be. But, when those around them put forward just a small bit of help, it can mean the world.
This is the lesson Craig Middle School eighth grade teacher Kimberly Heater has tried to impart on her students in recent weeks. They have spent the time leading up to Thanksgiving break gathering materials for holiday baskets.
Like the rest of their schoolmates, Heater’s students the also chipped in for the recent food drive to benefit the Interfaith Food Bank, but this separate venture is a little different. The food they’re collecting will be going directly to kids within CMS.
Heater said several of her pupils from her focus class were quick to volunteer to help out sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders whose families could use a little assistance this holiday season.
“They all want to make sure everyone at this school has a great Thanksgiving,” she said.
The baskets will be fully assembled at the beginning of next week as volunteers bring in the finishing touches, like frozen turkeys and pies. The first stage has been bringing in non-perishables like stuffing and gravy mix; canned green beans, corn and cranberries; and roasting pans.
“They’ve all been bringing whatever they could, and it’s all been trickling in little by little,” Heater said.
Student Torre Coffey said the baskets will also include some scented candles to accompany the Thanksgiving meal.
“I brought in some vegetables, and I’m going to try to bring a pie,” she said.
Baskets will go to the recipients after classes Tuesday afternoon as school lets out for the three-day vacation.
Heater said she won’t be publicizing which students will be getting Thanksgiving baskets because the point of the project is to not single out anyone whose family may be experiencing financial difficulties or similar issues.
Student Seth Ogden said thinking about people not having much — or any — food makes him more grateful for what he has.
“I’m blessed that I get to have a Thanksgiving dinner, so it makes me kind of sad knowing there are people who don’t,” he said.
As a first-year teacher at CMS, Heater was unfamiliar with the number of students who might benefit from something like Thanksgiving baskets. When broaching the idea to her class, she was extremely pleased with the amount of suggestions students put forth for whom they’d like to see helped, as well as taking the enthusiasm and initiative to handle most of the project by themselves.
“It’s huge for them to offer to bring all this stuff in and to have their parents foot the bill for it,” she said.
Some, like Ogden, even put in their own cash apart from what they received from parents.
“It just makes me feel good knowing someone will be able to have a good dinner,” he said.
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.