Community raises money for food pantries at the 43rd annual K of C Thanksgiving dinner
Whitman and Hanson residents, from school children to adults, have dug deep to donate food and funds — and then rolled up their sleeves to give of their time — in sharing the community’s seasonal bounty with neighbors in need.
National Honor Society President Cooper Leonard and Student Government President Erika Badger awarded $4,000 raised through donations solicited from local businesses and sponsored walkers during the annual Miles for Meals fundraising walk on Oct 24 to representatives of each food pantry.
Leo Hurley accepted the $2,000 donation on behalf of the Whitman Food Pantry and Linda Gelinas did so for the Hanson Food Pantry’s $2,000 donation during the Wednesday, Nov. 18 School Committee meeting.
“This just shows you what the excellence of a good student body can do to help people in the town they live in,” School Committee Chairman Robert Hayes said. “I couldn’t be any more proud of our students in the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District.”
He also thanked the pantry officials for doing what they do for the community. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ruth Gilbert-Whitner also thanked NHS Advisor Ellen Galambos, in her first year in that role, for her work with the students on the project.
“The students of the Whitman schools do a terrific job,” Hurley said, noting the annual Conley School Thanksgiving basket project and fundraising at Whitman Middle School. “There are a lot of things going on at the schools that I’m very happy about and I thank the students as well as the parents and faculty.”
Hanson students, particularly through the Builders Club at Hanson Middle School, also actively support their community’s food pantry. Scout troops in both towns have also actively supported the pantries — including a recent donation of nearly 4,000 pounds of food collected by the Whitman Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts during a drive to aid the Whitman Food Pantry.
This year’s Conley School Thanksgiving basket assembly was held Friday, Nov. 20 with students donating 26 baskets containing all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner for families in need. AEW Capital Management LP matched the basket donation of $1,500 to the Whitman Food Pantry, which adds the turkey to the student’s baskets.
Conley students also donated $480 to the animal control officer to feed animals at the pound in Whitman, accepted by Assistant Animal Control Officer Josh Kimball — a Conley School alumnus.
The next day, Saturday, Nov. 21, 14 members of the W-H Panthers football team, along with 14 auxiliary officers of the Whitman Police Department, took part in their annual tradition of serving turkey dinners to seniors at the 43rd annual Knights of Columbus Thanksgiving meal at the K of C hall on Bedford Street.
Auxiliary officer Christopher Powers said it was and opportunity to give back to the community in which the officers wanted to take part, and “back to the future” time for him, as he volunteered to serve as a teenager. He recalled that the seniors were always glad to see them and to ask about their families and future plans.
Senior Center Director Barbara Garvey thanked the K of C and its small army of volunteers on behalf of the diners.
“Every year, I continue to be amazed at how this massive undertaking comes off seemingly without a hitch,” she said. “The Knights of Columbus organization has always been very generous and a good friend to this community and, in particular, our seniors.”