MALONE — Students of Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES provided 10 families in the area with full Thanksgiving meals this week.
According to Jess Collier, FEH BOCES public information specialist, the service project “Torchgiving” is the brainchild of North Franklin Educational Center Executive Principal Shawn McMahon and Counselor Heather Gonia.
“We have been looking for a way to make a difference in our communities, and this seemed like both a great educational experience for our Culinary Arts class and an awesome opportunity to give back,” McMahon said. “We all hope that this work will make a big difference for some local families and help them have a happy holiday.”
The student council of North Franklin Educational Center and the students in FEH BOCES’s Culinary Arts Program were also involved in breathing life into the program.
“The NFEC Student Council voted to approve the project and led a four-day fundraising campaign to cover the expenses,” Collier said. “Donations hadn’t been totaled yet when school got out Tuesday afternoon, but they had reached above $500.”
Collier said each of the five school districts served by North Franklin Educational Center — Brushton-Moira, Chateaugay, Malone, St. Regis Falls and Salmon River — chose one family from their elementary level and one from their secondary level to receive a dinner.
Joel Deragon, an FEH BOCES Culinary Arts instructor, worked with his junior year class to plan out the meals and their prices. From there, the students worked on preparing and packing the meals over several days.
Students of the Culinary Arts Program prepared large Thanksgiving meals that included turkey, ham, vegetables and pies.
A group comprised of both staff members and students then loaded the meals into vehicles Tuesday and delivered them to each of the school districts.