By Leah Boucher, Contributing Writer
For the second year in a row, UMF’s honor society, Alpha Lambda Delta, has donated Thanksgiving baskets to five families with children who attend the W.G. Mallett School in Farmington. These families, each in financial need during the holiday season, received food for a full meal to cook and eat for Thanksgiving.
Sarah Jenkins, junior Elementary Education major at UMF and secretary of this honor society, also known as ALD, is grateful for the Farmington community coming together to help out families in need. “Although Alpha Lambda Delta was the club that created the food drive,” said Jenkins, “Rotaract, Bust-A-Move Beavers, Height Chevrolet and Farmington Ford all gave monetary donations for the drive, totaling $150.”
In 2015, Katrina Teixeira, a senior elementary education major and member of ALD, brought up the idea of donating food to a local school during an ALD meeting. “My student council club in high school started donating baskets of food to families with children in elementary schools in our area,” said Teixeira. “Last fall, I was in practicum at Mallett School, and I asked ALD if we could come together with other clubs and even businesses to provide free baskets for families in need who had children at Mallett.”
Although Teixeira created the drive, she received help to make it successful. “I worked with Tracy Williams, the principal of Mallett, who told me how many families she believed were in need of food for the holidays,” said Teixeira, “and she was the one who we dropped the baskets off with when they were all completed.”
On a late Sunday evening of Nov. 20, ALD members paraded down the aisles of Hannaford and Walmart, stuffing shopping carts with food, ranging from canned vegetables, to turkey gift cards, to rich pie fillings. After buying these supplies, members carefully placed each box, can, and card into sturdy Thanksgiving baskets, each one filled to the brim awaiting a family in need. Jenkins realized that by asking for monetary donations, ALD could make sure that every basket contained each of the same items.
“While shopping, we picked out five of everything,” said Jenkins, “such as canned green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, fresh produce, such as sweet potatoes, turkey gift cards, pie filling, crust, instant mashed potatoes, stuffing and even apple cider.”
Morgan Leso, the guidance counselor at Mallett School, was the school contact ALD worked with to find out how many families needed baskets and to make sure families received these baskets before Thanksgiving. “When ALD contacted me, I went through the process of selecting families that the principal and I knew were in severe financial need,” said Leso. “Once families were selected they were contacted and asked if they would like donations and two weeks later, on Monday the 21st, members of ALD dropped off the baskets right at the school.”
Leso praised ALD and all the organizations who helped donate to make these baskets possible. “We here at Mallett love collaborating with UMF to give back to families in need,” said Leso, “and we are so grateful that now five families will be able to have a Thanksgiving meal together, free of charge.”