VUHS students run a fruitful food drive

VERGENNES — Thanks to the effort of many Vergennes Union High School students, 20 families who could use a helping hand will have turkeys on their table this Thursday, and more than a dozen of those families will also receive all the trimmings.
On this past Friday, VUHS students donated a dozen complete Thanksgiving dinners, plus another eight turkeys and other holiday side dishes, to the Vergennes Community Food Shelf, which is housed in the Vergennes Congregational Church on South Water Street.
The VUHS Student Council, which organized the food drive, decided the food shelf was the logical way to get the dinners to those who needed them, said council advisor Teresa Smith, a VUHS math teacher.
“We know they get hit really hard for Thanksgiving items,” Smith said.
Collection was done through the school’s morning meetings, also at the suggestion of the VUHS Student Council. Smith said past food drive efforts at the school had fallen short because they were not targeted.
“Without asking for specific things, it’s hard to have a food drive,” she said.
Council members brainstormed that working through the high school’s roughly two dozen morning meetings and giving them each a goal of collecting a full meal would be more productive.
Each meeting’s student members were asked to donate $7.50 put toward buying a 15-pound turkey, two boxes of mashed potatoes, a box of stuffing, two jars of gravy, one pie’s worth of ingredients, a bag of dinner rolls, two cans of green vegetables and a butternut squash.
Participation was not universal, but most meetings stepped up — possibly responding also to a council incentive of free ice cream for members of morning meetings that provided complete meals. 
“We had a great response,” Smith said.
With the success of this first-time effort, Smith said the council hopes to make the Thanksgiving food drive an annual feature of the VUHS calendar.
“I think it’s really important, and the kids agree,” she said.
The council is also planning to incorporate specific targets into food drives at upcoming home girls’ and boys’ basketball games vs. Mount Abraham.
“Right now we’re working on a new way to hold a regular food drive,” Smith said.
The members of the VUHS Student Council include April Ambrose, K.C. Ambrose, Sammy Kepes, Elan Hugo, Liam Hayes, Ericka Delisle, Annika Vorsteveld, Kareena Vorsteveld, Allyson Stearns, Lexi Brace, Tea Kiefer, Alyson Gebo, Emma Husk, Charlotte Haigis, Nora Hubbard, Tia Hunt, Aaron Premont, Megan Rooney, Caroline Johnston, Hunter Smith, Nikki Salley, Max Ratti-Bicknell, Nora Hatch, Tyler Kepes, Nate Rowell, Josh Sickles, Rebecca Unger and Sebastian Crowell.

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