Christmas Gifts from the elementary school bring cheer to those in need


December 15, 2021

F.E. Miley Elementary School is doing its annual food drive to provide Christmas dinner for families in the Big Sandy community that are in need. Kindergarten teacher, Samantha Weaver, explained the blessing the food drive has been for the teaching staff: "As a staff, we look forward to giving back to our community. So, we were excited about the Christmas dinner boxes."

The idea for the boxes came from Samantha's early teaching years, where she watched other communities do similar projects. "When I taught in Ulm, the ABC Club, the parents' club, did Christmas dinner baskets for the community. They raffled them off for the program. I thought that was a great idea. I thought maybe we could incorporate that into the food bank. Instead of just collecting cans of green beans and other things, I thought it would be nice to have something, truly like a gift to give back to somebody." To add to the sense that the meal is a Christmas gift, each box is gift wrapped by students from the High School before being given. "I usually have my high school co-op student that volunteers in my classroom wrap the boxes. I don't have a high school student this year, so the National Honor Society is going to do it."

"The last four years that we have done this, we have ended up with eleven boxes. Each class is responsible for bringing a specific item and so that helps with being able to put together that many boxes." Each class is assigned a particular food item, including dinner rolls, stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potatoes, and gravy packets. The food is due

to the school by December 16th. The food donation goes beyond the students bringing in donations. The staff also has their assigned role. "The teaching staff provides a nonperishable dessert item like packaged cookies or a box of brownies. So, it is a complete and total full meal for a family in need. Mrs. Terry had a really good idea of getting pie coupons, so we go down and purchase a Marie Callender pie and The Grocery Store will give us a coupon. The coupon goes in the Christmas dinner box." The turkey or ham are given by the food bank itself to complete the gift.

"Terry is always really excited about partnering with us to do this project. I contact him every year to make sure... 'Hey would you like us to still contribute to this.' He says 'Yes! We are always really excited to have you guys do this.' Terry has told me that most of the boxes are distributed here in our community. It's nice knowing as a school that we have given back to the people of our town."

When I asked Terry Grant about the value of the annual Christmas dinner food drive, his reply reflected his long time role in the program,as well as his career in education: "The thoughtfulness of the students and staff in putting the Christmas boxes together helps more than the recipients of them. It also gives


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