SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — Local culinary arts students, along with the Saratoga Wilton Kiwanis Club, prepared 120 Thanksgiving food baskets for those in need earlier this week through a Collaborative holiday tradition called “Operation Turkey.”
The baskets were assembled on Tuesday morning at the F. Donald Myers Education Center on Henning Road in Saratoga Springs by Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES Career and Technical Education (CTE) students, Key Club members and Kiwanis volunteers – all showing thanks this holiday season by helping their community.
The Kiwanis Club provided all of the food needed to prepare a healthy Thanksgiving meal for six people in each basket.
The Thanksgiving packages – complete with a turkey, sides and dessert – were then delivered by volunteers to families in need as well as seniors, shut-ins and area shelters.
The effort is spearheaded by the BOCES Culinary Arts program, with Exceptional Learners classes playing an active role as well.
“Our program has had a long tradition of supporting the community through this effort,” chef-instructor Celeste David said in a press release. “It is particularly relevant since a number of the baskets will be going to families of F. Donald Myers Education students themselves. This year more than ever we are grateful to help the community.”
CTE is happy to support service projects like Operation Turkey, the release said, as it helps students to understand the importance of giving back to their community.
Saratoga Wilton Kiwanis Club member Maureen Clancy, the former chef-instructor at BOCES, founded the Operation Turkey initiative about 20 years ago. “This time of year there’s a lot of need,” she said on Tuesday as the baskets were being assembled, noting that food insecurity is an issue locally, especially with the current rising grocery prices.
Additionally, Operation Turkey teaches students about leadership, volunteerism and the importance of assisting others in need. Clancy said, “The main thing is giving back to the community.”