From 1621 to 2015 the United States of America has set aside a day of thanksgiving with a hearty meal and a grateful heart. The 6th grade students at South Amherst Middle School have been organizing Thanksgiving Baskets under the direction of their teachers for several years now. However, never in the past has there been such an outpouring of community support as we have witnessed this year. Some say it is because of the turmoil that is going on in the world, others say it is because we as a community want our students to learn to give back, still others agree with Billy Sunday when he said, “But by the grace of God that could be me”.
The community has truly come together much like the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag did back on that first day of feasting and thanksgiving. They brought what they had to share with those who had not. Retired teachers as well as the staff in all three buildings and our board office so generously provided turkeys for the baskets. Our local PTG donated money for rolls and pies, our Florence Fire Department donated money for gravy and cranberry sauce. First United Methodist of South Amherst brought numerous canned goods as well as stuffing to fill the baskets. Local families donated apples for the 6th graders to make applesauce for the baskets. Harker Farms donated local honey for each basket. The Fraternal Order of Eagles so generously donated money to complete the baskets. South Amherst Fire Department Association donated the right amount to complete the necessary elements of the dinners. Each basket contained a turkey with a turkey bag and directions as to how to make a turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, rolls, dessert, applesauce and honey. All the fixings that a family will need to make a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and more importantly a family memory!
All of these Thanksgiving Baskets went to families’ right here in our community. Research states that one in four of our children that embark through our doors on a daily basis are coming to school hungry. John F Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Thank you to each and every one who lived by those words this year and blessed a Firelands’ Family. The sixth grade students and teachers are truly Firelands Proud! Our sixth grade team consists of Mrs. Neal, Mrs. Muth, Mrs. Palmer, Mr. Grude, Mr. Swift and Mrs. Budweg.