In order to capitalize on the generosity in the valley, the students of Silver Creek Alternative School in Hailey have organized a Thanksgiving Food Drive. The students are collaborating with The South Central Community Action Partnership of Twin Falls to provide food baskets for people in need throughout the Wood River Valley.
"There are most definitely people in need. There are also people willing to give. We have such a tight community that I don't see the use in not using it," Josh Engkraf, a senior, said.
Over the last month, the students collected food at their school and at various valley locations, including Wood River Middle School, Atkinsons' Markets and William's Market.
"It (the food drive) started out slow, but once it got closer we got a lot of food," Veronika Haynes, a senior, remarked.
On Friday, Nov. 19, hundreds of fruit, vegetable, and soup cans, along with pie fillings, evaporated milk, cereal, and noodles lined the walls. A stack of donated potatoes filled the center of the room.
"It was definitely cool, how much (food) we realized we had," Haynes said.
The students spent the last week organizing hundreds of cans of food. After organizing the food, the students gathered in the commons area to load boxes approximately 200 boxes with the appropriate amount of food for individuals and families. The boxes were then labeled according the size of a family receiving the gift.
In addition to the canned and dry goods, each basket also came with fresh rolls, pies and a turkey donated by valley businesses. This year 200 turkeys complemented the Thanksgiving baskets.
Last year, the students gave away 150 turkeys and ran out while distributing the food. This year, the group increased the number of birds to accommodate need.
According to the students, the baskets are intended to provide a hearty Thanksgiving meal and to sustain the families for a few days beyond.
On Monday and Tuesday, the students distributed the Thanksgiving baskets at the school and also dropped off boxes for those unable to collect the goods on their own.
While assembling the baskets, senior Emmy Crow reflected on her experience giving away baskets the previous year. "It brought me to tears a couple of times," she said.