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Helping Hand

North students offer Thanksgiving assistance

Telegraph photo by ADAM URQUHART Special education teacher Dawn Morton, who voluntarily runs the Nashua High School North food pantry, is assisted by school social worker Kallie Provencher with getting Thanksgiving meals ready to go. Chef David Quimby had his students prepare meals for families of students who are in need of help this holiday. People began picking up the meals on Monday.

NASHUA – Students at Nashua High School North have been cooking up a way to provide for families in need this Thanksgiving by preparing nearly 260 meals.

The food is going to 60 families of students at North who currently face food insecurity. Special education teacher Dawn Morton voluntarily runs the school’s food pantry and said many of these families access items on a regular basis.

Chef David Quimby had 50 to 60 students, mostly in his high school culinary, and baking and pastry classes, make turkey pot pie and apple crisp for this year’s project.

“It takes a village,” Morton said. “We’re happy to be having so many different hands helping the needy families in our community.”

She said the food was provided through the school’s Titan Food Pantry by donations from the staff, community organizations and the New Hampshire Food Bank. On Monday, all of the meals were complete, frozen, bagged, tagged and ready for pick up.

For the last two years, organizers used frozen turkeys as their Thanksgiving meal. However, they learned that many needy families do not have a freezer big enough to take the turkey, or they do not have an oven big enough in which to cook it. That is why this year the meal was prepared differently. Quimby said officials listened to teachers who have some of these students in their classes and took their feedback to design meals that are easier for families to cook.

“This was a big undertaking for the culinary kids, a bigger amount of food at one time than they usually do, but a good teaching experience for feeding the masses,” Morton said.

Quimby said he thinks it is important the students understand how important it is to give back to the community.

“I believe this is definitely way more people than we’ve ever done before by significant numbers,” Quimby said.

Amanda Soucy is one of this year’s recipients and said these meals are quite helpful for her because she is a busy, single mom of four boys. Without these meals, Soucy said she would have still figured out a way to have a Thanksgiving meal in one way shape or form, but they definitely came in handy.

“They’re busy boys and they’re always hungry,” Soucy said.

Additionally, Soucy said the food pantry, in general, is a great help, especially since the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding she does receive can quickly dwindle while trying to feed her four boys, ranging in age from infant to 17.

“It’s just great to have the pantry to be able to come in monthly or quarterly and just get the things that we need that I can’t afford to get or we run out of so quick,” Soucy said.

This year, she has one less meal to worry about with the help of Quimby’s culinary students doing the cooking for her and the other families in need of a helping hand this holiday.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.