Students at The Park School in Snyder were busy preparing Thanksgiving meals for Compass House in Buffalo on Monday, in an annual lesson about serving those in need. The meals will be served to area youth who are in crisis and seeking help.
For the 17th year in a row, students in grades 5-8 held a Turkey Bake. They peeled, cut, and mashed potatoes and made large batches of stuffing, then packaged the Thanksgiving Day meals that will be served to youth living at Compass House.
“[It's about] helping out. Even though we may look different on the outside, really it is an acknowledgement that we all need a sense of community and belonging,” said Angela Pileri, head of Park Middle School.
Students enthusiastically participated in the event.
“At this age they want to be connected to their own tablets and personal devices and to learn that there is a world outside of themselves and to learn to there is another world outside of Park School,” Pileri explained.
“The best thing is they are kids helping kids. They’re helping the runaway and homeless youth that we serve,” said Lisa Freeman, executive director at Compass House.
Freeman watched as students prepared the Thanksgiving items for her organization.
“These are kids that they could know. It could be their next-door neighbor, it could be anyone of their friends, so it is amazing that they are willing to help,” Freeman stated.
“It is important to think about them and make sure we are helping as much people as possible,” said Tristan Lauricella of Buffalo, an 8th grader at Park.
Lauricella says the activity serves as an important lesson for students.
“Because we often take for granted that we have the ability to have Thanksgiving. We can just go to the store and get things. These kids don’t have that and it’s really important to help them,” Lauricella declared.
Lauricella said it's sad to know children in our community are struggling. The school works to educate students about giving back to the community.
“Just to give back and how great it feels to know you are helping someone out that can’t have things you have,” said Alejandra Bielat of Lancaster, is also in 8th grader at The Park School.
“It means a lot because I can get meals from my family and I know I can afford meals. It’s great to know that for other people that can’t afford meals, I am helping them,” Bielat replied.
School families also donated other supplies to create full Thanksgiving Day meals for the Compass House including vegetables, pies and cooked turkeys.