Making the holiday: Local students receive Thanksgiving food donations

Date Published: 
December 6, 2013

There was a turkey for every oven for more than four dozen Indian River School District students when the George Washington Carver Academy and Transitioning Our Toddlers to School (TOTS) sent home boxes of Thanksgiving goodies on Nov. 26.

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Students received Thanksgiving food boxes donated through the George Washington Carver Academy and Transitioning our Toddlers to School (TOTS) program. Pictured, from left, are Demetrius Jenkins, Antonio Levato, Xavier Gibbs, George Washington Carver Academy Principal Walt Smith, Jeremey Fox, Cody Heathman and Jacob Schafer.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Students received Thanksgiving food boxes donated through the George Washington Carver Academy and Transitioning our Toddlers to School (TOTS) program. Pictured, from left, are Demetrius Jenkins, Antonio Levato, Xavier Gibbs, George Washington Carver Academy Principal Walt Smith, Jeremey Fox, Cody Heathman and Jacob Schafer.Around 50 families received a turkey, bread and all the trimmings — including all Carver students and some TOTS children. Next year’s goal is to present gifts to every student in the building.

“Students — they love it. They don’t come out and say a lot, but you can tell they appreciate it,” said Carver Principal Walt Smith. “It takes the burden off parents to have it right at their fingertips.”

Smith began the turkey tradition in 2000, to brighten the holidays at the former Richard Allen School in Georgetown. The donations have actually increased, so children got food for the whole weekend. Instead of children taking a single turkey home, parents were asked to pick up two full boxes, which included two birds, eggs, cereal, snacks and more.

“It’s too much to send home on the bus!” acknowledged Smith, adding that the school would do anything to get the food home to those families. “It’s nice to see families smile.”

Carver Academy is an alternative school in the Indian River School District, focusing on K-12 students’ academic, behavioral and personal needs.

“We provide the same opportunities as other schools,” said Smith, so students can keep up with their homeschool work or continue long-term at Carver.

Housed in the same building on Frankford School Road, TOTS serves as a “pre-pre-kindergarten” for students ages 3 and 4.

Having organized similar donations in the past, school counselor Nica Reid estimated that the boxes had a $50 value.

“Our goal was not just to have a Thanksgiving meal, but to last them the days not in school,” Reid said.

Donors included Shechinah Empowerment Center, Mountaire through Dagsboro Church of God and Goeins-Williams Inc.

“Without them, none of this would be possible,” Smith said.

The boxes were assembled by kids at the Character Academic and Motivational Program (CAMP).

“Our people really look forward to it,” said Smith, also thanking Diaz Bonville, community home liaison for TOTS. “We’re all in the same program. We can spread the giving of thanks around to all kids.”

Carver students get to give back in December, when they wrap donated holiday toys for TOTS. children.

The G.W. Carver Academy is also looking for adults to serve as mentors. Interested people can call (302) 732-3800.

“Our kids look forward to your call,” said Smith.