By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
NORTH LIBERTY–Heritage Christian School (HCS) students may relish their turkey dinners in a whole new way as they sit down to this year’s Thanksgiving meal.
Middle school students, as part of an October nutrition unit, visited the Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry, where they helped repackage food for distribution and learned to plan healthy meals from pantry offerings.
“We hoped that the students would think through what they are donating to those in need – to make sure it was of nutritional value,” said Heritage Christian School fifth grade math and language arts teacher Tammy Veenstra. “Often times we give our leftovers or the things we bought on accident, but to truly help, we need to think through what would be nutritional for the clients of the pantry.”
In addition, said Veenstra, the goal is to teach kids to serve those in need and be thankful for the blessings they have. Encouraging families to read passages from the Bible books of Deuteronomy (15:7-11; “There will always be poor people in the land; therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers.”) and Proverbs 3:9; “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops,” is another way HCS teachers open conversations about sharing with those in need, said Veenstra.
Beyond talking turkey about the realities of hunger and food scarcity, HCS students agreed to participate in the fourth annual “Everything but the Turkey” food drive. Students in each grade level were asked to bring canned fruits and vegetables, cans of sweet potatoes, boxes of instant potatoes and stuffing mix, and boxed dessert mixes, to be put together as Thanksgiving meal packages for pantry users.
A generous partnership with Blink Vision has expanded the Everything but the Turkey food collection to include even the birds. Blink Vision has agreed to donate at least 30 turkeys, in addition to any turkeys their clients contribute as well, said Veenstra.
HCS’s Thanksgiving food drive continues until Friday, Nov. 18. Additional donations of boxed and canned items or frozen turkeys will be accepted at the HCS main office, 255 Hackberry St. in North Liberty, until 3:30 p.m. this Friday.