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Thanksgiving Distribution Program helps 78 families

BY: Jennifer Lysiak, Lancaster Editor | November 21, 2012

LANCASTER- This Thanksgiving, the Town of Lancaster Youth Bureau and Lancaster Central School students came together for one reason, to help those who are less fortunate in the community. And because of their efforts, 78 local needy families who may have not otherwise had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner were able to receive some extra help this holiday.

Held for more than 25 years, the Thanksgiving Distribution Program has become a huge benefit in the Lancaster community. Coordinated by Lancaster Youth Bureau Social Worker Karen Schanne, the program not only helps the less fortunate, but gets students involved in community service.

“I’m so thankful to the schools and to the community for making donations so that we can reach out to so many families and help them have a nicer holiday,” remarked Schanne.” They struggle financially throughout the year so it is nice way to let them know that their community cares about them.”

The families who use the program are the same families who utilize some of the other youth bureau programs, such as the school supply closet program during the summer and they’re eligible for Christmas Distribution program, and they regularly use the clothes closet, said Schanne.

At the beginning of November, Lancaster Middle School students started collecting canned food, which brought in approximately 2,000 cans and 31 turkeys, said Bonnie Blatner, Lancaster Middle School eighth grade teacher and student council advisor.

“We do it to help the community, because we know that even though we have some very big houses in our town we also have some families that are going through some hard times,” remarked Blatner. “It is nice to know that it is going right to our families, staying right in our community, and possibly helping kids right in our school.”

Also, the William Street School’s Good Citizen’s Club organized a school wide food drive, as well as Como Park Elementary School, bringing in roughly another 3,000 canned food items, said Schanne, who also mentioned the local community has been dropping off canned goods and even turkeys, which resulted in nearly 61 turkeys to be given out this year.

Students of Blatner’s Student Council spent Friday morning getting the food ready for the families by sorting through the cans and placing them in laundry baskets. Families were given two baskets of food and turkeys were given out until none were left.

Service Project Chairperson Olivia Gervan, eighth grade, said they do a lot of service projects throughout the year, such as helping out at St. Elizabeth’s Home and at the Ronald McDonald House and this is one more way to give back to the community.

“I like helping people out,” she said.

Even though, this is his first year helping to sort all the food at the youth bureau, President of the Student Council Connor Carrow, eighth grade, said he has always donated to the distribution.

“Everyone in our community deserves to have the same resources and have a happy Thanksgiving and holiday season,” Carrow said. If you didn’t have as much, you would want people that were more fortunate helping you too. So, just put yourself in their shoes.”

For more information about the youth bureau or programs call 683-4444. The youth bureau is located at 200 Oxford Ave., Lancaster.

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