Students serve up ‘Largest Thanksgiving Dinner’

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fifteen Montevallo High School students rolled up their sleeves and got in the kitchen Tuesday to prepare and serve a non-traditional, but satisfying Thanksgiving meal.

Members of the Peacemakers’ Club, a volunteer organization, participated in the “World’s Largest Thanksgiving Dinner,” a national student-run event sponsored by Youth Service America, America’s All Stars, Salvation Army and Campbell’s Soup. The dinner assists individuals in need.

A $5 donation bought dinner guests a generous portion of pasta with homemade marinara sauce, green salad, homemade bread, cookies and sweet tea. All proceeds will benefit Shelby Emergency Assistance.

Students manned their serving stations inside the school cafeteria while the MHS Troubadours, the MHS Chorus, Lightz of the World, Poetry Posse and the Future Farmers of America String Band provided entertainment.

Peacemaker Sponsor Rose D’Alessio said the dinner is one of the club’s many character development projects. Students sought food donations from area supermarkets for the 200-person dinner, and publicized the event by distributing flyers.

As charities report a slowdown in donations this holiday season, the Peacemakers made it their mission to replenish SEA’s resources.

“A lot of our students come from families that are really feeling the financial crunch,” D’Alessio said. “We tell them that you give whenever there’s a need. Let’s do what we’re supposed to do. Let’s do what we’re called to do.”

“We want our students to be global citizens, and we want to prepare them for what they’ll face in life.”

Peacemakers and friends Maria Wagner and Erika Villaperez spent most of the evening behind the cafeteria line serving meals. During a short break, both young ladies talked about the importance of giving back.

“Our purpose is to strengthen the ties between students and the community, and (the dinner) is a great way to get involved,” Wagner said.

Villaperez agreed. “I like to help people and I want to make changes in the community and the people,” she said.

D’Alessio credited the students for taking on “a huge endeavor,” and hinted the dinner may become a Peacemaker tradition.

“This is something you can’t learn inside the confines of the classroom,” she said. “These kids are awesome and it’s good to see this kind of dedication.”