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Mountaineer Middle students provide Thanksgiving meals for 20-plus families

More than 20 local families in need will now have a Thanksgiving dinner thanks to a food drive started by a group of choir students at Mountaineer Middle School.

Dave Cox, music teacher and choir director at the school, said he has always wanted to do service projects with his performing groups of music students.

“Kind of the go-to with a choir is to go sing at a nursing home or something — but that is a little bit difficult to get buses approved and the kids out of class,” he said.  “So, I decided to do something a little more in-house.”

Cox said while brainstorming ideas, a friend mentioned the Thanksgiving Baskets program at Scott’s Run Settlement House.

“So, I threw it out to the kids and we decided to go with that,” he said.

The group of over 50 students started the food drive on Oct. 10 with a goal to make 20 baskets filled with ingredients needed for a Thanksgiving feast.

“Some of the kids have really, really bought into it — some of them have really brought in lots of stuff to contribute,” Cox said.  “But everybody has contributed a decent amount and we managed to spread it out and kind of make it count.”

In each basket, the students are hoping to include a couple pans to cook a turkey or other food, as well as cans of vegetables, Stove Top stuffing, instant mashed potatoes and more.  

The donations will be picked up on Friday by members of the Rotary Club, but Cox said with the few days they have left they are hoping to add a few gift cards for each of the baskets.

In addition to agreeing to transport the student’s donations to Scott’s Run Settlement House, Cox said the Rotary also provided them with totes for the donations.

Over the four weeks of collecting items, Cox said they were able to meet their goal and then some. 

“We have managed to actually put together 21, so we exceeded our goal a little bit,” he said.  “So hopefully 20-21 families will get a Thanksgiving meal because of us.”

The music teacher said he tries to do two service projects a year with his students — they also helped the Rotary put out over 400 flags in town around Memorial Day.  

With the success of this food drive, he said he would like to make the Thanksgiving baskets and flag efforts annual projects.

“It’s nice to give back to the community — it’s nice to be in a community where the people are so supportive and generous with the things they donate to help people out,” Cox said.  “I’m lucky to be at a great school, with great kids and great people.”

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