By Stephanie Spyropoulos
and Tracy F. Seelye
WHITMAN — Gratitude and a positive attitude is what the Conley Elementary School gathered to celebrate this week as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches in their recent assembly.
On Saturday, Nov. 23, that spirit of giving found W-H student athletes, members of the Whitman Police Department and members of the community volunteered to help serve Thanksgiving dinner to about 360 seniors from Whitman and surrounding towns at the Whitman Knights of Columbus.
Conley School also collectively gathered a donation to present to the Whitman Animal Shelter for $1,000. The highest ever in the Conley School, which by the jaw drops — students could not believe themselves — that their spare change had such grand accumulation over the last months.
Principal Karen Downey assisted by fifth-grade student Destin Rodriquez held the check and took a peek at the total before they announced their final amount.
The school has gathered their coins and cans with full meals to serve approximately 30 families in need in the Whitman area. Volunteers from the Whitman Food Pantry accepted donations and thanked the Conley students and staff.
In celebration of the season and giving to those in need the community at Conley left the cafeteria with both teachers, and students feeling blessed and thankful with a palpable feeling of excitement and positive energy.
Several students read from gratitude lists, which they created in conjunction with their classroom time and lessons. The students also assisted in presenting the baskets to the Whitman Food Pantry, which were then loaded into cars to take to the pantry in time for the holiday.
The K of C served up roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, winter squash, peas and onions, and a dinner roll plus dessert for the 47th year.
“The first one was in 1972,” said Whitman Council on Aging Director Barbara Garvey. “I couldn’t be here because I was graduating from Abington High School.”
Garvey noted the seniors were dining with more than 350 others as a “nice time to make new friends and visit old friends.”
“The members of the Whitman Knights of Columbus have always been very kind and generous to this community as a whole and, in particular, to our seniors,” Garvey said. “They and their volunteers give countless hours of their time, effort and resources not only today, but through the entire year to make this undertaking possible. It’s massive, as you can see.”
Garvey thanked the K of C and all the volunteers on behalf of the Whitman Council on Aging and all those attending Saturday’s dinner.
The Rev. Robert Collen led the blessing before the volunteers served it in nine minutes and 36 seconds.