WARRENSBURG - North Warren High School students Jessica May and Lindsey Meade sorted through boxes of donated food, gathered in preparation for the school's annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
"It's good that people who can't afford a Thanksgiving dinner, or have no one to share it with, can come to the school and enjoy it with families and people they know," she said.
Lindsey agreed as they took an inventory of the food and made plans for the dinner, set this year for 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday Nov. 14 in the school cafeteria.
"It's so nice to have our community come together, and let people know that others care," Lindsey Meade said. "It's awesome."
In 2008, the dinner served 284 people; and North Warren students, faculty, staff and administration all contributed money, time, effort and food for the event - which has now become a treasured tradition in the area.
For last year's dinner, this team gathered and prepared 21 turkeys, 175 potatoes, and a lot of squash, North Warren Principal Teresa Andrew said.
Forty of the meals were take-outs, delivered to elderly shut-ins, with squads of students traveling to Pottersville, Adirondack, Brant Lake and elsewhere with meals, an accompanying treat, and a large dose of good cheer.
For the sit-down meal at the school, students wait on tables, preparing plates full of food for citizens just as they custom-order.
School faculty members said this week that it was Andrews that launched the tradition eight years ago, along with the school yearbook staff, as a way to reach out to all who call the towns of Horicon and Chester their home.
"We decided we wanted to do something for community, giving back for all the y do for us, particularly with sports and fundraising," Andrew said. "Since then, it's grown every year - we not only have the returnees, but we see new faces each year."
She said that everyone pitches in to make it a mainstay event in people's lives.
"It's become a community and school thing," Andrew said.