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G-C club to prepare meals for families

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GREENFIELD — A Greenfield teen is hoping to make the Thanksgiving holiday a bit brighter for local families in need.

Alex Colclazier, 17, is spearheading an effort to prepare turkey dinners for two dozen families who might not otherwise have the means to make a meal.

Alex, a senior at Greenfield-Central High School, contacted the principals of eight Greenfield-area schools in recent weeks to obtain referrals of families that might not have the resources to prepare for the holiday. Their meals, delivered Thanksgiving Day, will come complete with enough turkey to feed the family, complete with all the trimmings and pie for dessert.

Alex said the idea dates to when she used to help her parents deliver meals to needy families with her church. The experience stuck with Alex, prompting her to start a new Christian-based club with a focus on community outreach.

Alex said it was meeting face to face with families in need and seeing their gratitude that created such positive memories.

“I enjoyed helping them and knowing that you could make a difference for them,” she said.

The club, Allowing Christ to Shine (A.C.T.S.), is being sponsored by the Spanish Honor Society as it gets its start. Students have been bringing in cans of vegetables to donate to the cause, and Alex has been recruiting volunteers to help cook the meal. Turkey breasts will be prepared tonight, and everything will be cooked fresh on Thanksgiving morning.

Doing the cooking at St. Michael’s School cafeteria, which has multiple ovens, will help keep the endeavor organized and the food hot.

Amelia Shepherd, 18, a senior, is helping Alex coordinate the effort.

Amelia said her main concern is for small children whose families typically depend on school lunches and might go without – or with little – while school is out.

“Just imagine your childhood Thanksgiving without a meal,” she said. “Some of them probably have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and that’s fine with them.”

Ben Scheiter, 18, also reflected on his own experiences when deciding to give Alex a helping hand.

“We understand times are tough, and it’s a stressful holiday season, but you have to think … about your childhood, when you were a kid,” he said. “You remember Thanksgiving. You were stuffed, and you sat down and watched a football game. Some of these kids don’t have that opportunity.”

Alex hopes to see the effort expand next year, though, as a senior, she’ll have to leave the organizing to the underclassmen.

Jami LaFord, 17, also a senior, said she wished she had more time to help the project grow.

“It’s kind of sad we’re not gonna be here next year,” she said.

While cooking the meals will require all the volunteers to spend some time away from their own families on the holiday, Alex is already certain the effort will be worth the inconvenience.

“It’s the best feeling of seeing (the families),” she said. “They’re just so overjoyed that you care enough to go give them that meal. That’s the biggest thing I take away from it, that they know someone cares.”

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