CHELMSFORD, MA (Nov. 23, 2022) – Parker Middle School social worker Julia Gannon was hopeful of generating enough food items to feed 15 families on Thanksgiving.
The Parker Middle School Food Drive, a collective effort of the grade 5-8 students and staff, did far better. It will feed 32 families.
Considering inflation, rising gas prices and an average 60 percent increase in home energy costs this winter, the Parker students’ effort is momentous.
For years, Parker held the food drive between the seventh and eighth grades, led by retired science teacher Barbara Mayotte. It had been shelved in recent years, however, due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“This was the first time in recent years that we have had a school-wide Thanksgiving drive,” Ms. Gannon said. “I realized we needed to get it going again,” said Ms. Gannon said. “We would be able to get more contributions as opposed to the two grades.”
Ms. Gannon, in her fourth year at Parker, took on the project from Ms. Mayotte and expanded the drive to include fifth and sixth graders. Between Nov. 7-17, students solicited specific items to create as many complete Thanksgiving dinners as possible – stuffing mix, instant potatoes, canned gravy, pie crust and all the other fixings – to donate exclusively to Parker families.
They also collected 15 gift cards at $25 each to local supermarkets to enable folks to purchase turkeys.
Last Thursday, members of Stand Up Parker remained after school to organize all the donations into individual bags. All the extra non-perishables were donated to the Chelmsford Food Pantry.
“I am so appreciative of all the support from everyone in our school community,” said Ms. Gannon. “Families and staff really stepped up to participate in this food drive and I can’t believe that we crushed our goal and put together bags for 32 families.”
About Chelmsford Public Schools
The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit www.chelmsfordschools.org.