Jackson Middle School students help set the table for 70 local families

Fundraising effort raises more than $2,000 for Thanksgiving dinner baskets

In less than a week, 120 WEB students at Jackson Middle School mobilized their fellow student body to raise enough money to buy Thanksgiving dinner baskets for 70 local families. The students raised just over $2,000, which went towards baskets filled with an 18 to 20 pound turkey, potatoes, canned corn, stuffing, bread and pie.

Families were chosen based on a variety of criteria from special circumstance to need.

“It wasn’t just based on those ‘in-need’ or considered ‘needy’ so to speak,” said John Warren, WEB Advisor. “For example, if there is a mom that is undergoing chemo and just doesn’t have the time to do the Thanksgiving shopping, we wanted to take that burden on for that family.”

Warren also said they delivered baskets to a couple homeless families.

“Some of them were going to be visiting other family,” he said. “Now they had something to bring and didn’t have to go to Thanksgiving dinner with t hat feeling of only taking, for lack of a better word.”

Other families chosen may be able to pay their bills but simply can’t afford an extra $100-$200 to spend on an extravagant meal.

Teachers, staff, nurses, counselors assistant principals, para professionals and others provided input on which families would benefit from a Thanksgiving basket delivery.

“This is where our personal connections throughout the building came into play,” said Warren, who also oversees Jaguar Junction, the school’s food shelf, along with Lauren Bradley.

Warren said in previous years the district’s Student Services delivered Thanksgiving baskets to families; however, two years ago, that service was cut. In response to the loss of the program, last year WEB leaders took on the effort. That first year, students raised enough money to serve 55 families. This year’s WEB leaders — who are a group of 8th grade leaders within the school — renewed the effort. Additionally, a local church made more than a dozen tie blankets that accompanied some of the baskets.

Teachers and staff helped deliver the baskets last Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day.