FBLA students host food drive for Thanksgiving baskets

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

No family should go hungry on Thanksgiving.

That’s what Eureka Springs High

School’s Future Business Leaders of America

believe, and they’re doing something

about it.

The local FBLA chapter is hosting a food

drive to provide 30 Thanksgiving dinner

baskets for families in need. Sherry Sullivan,

FBLA adviser, said there’s a contest at

the high school to ensure those baskets are

full. The advisory class that brings the most

non-perishable items, senior Natalie Royal

said, will have a pizza party courtesy of

FBLA.

Along with the non-perishable items,

Sullivan said, the students are purchasing

gift cards for perishable items and have received

several gift cards from the community.

Some of these gift cards will go toward a

turkey, Sullivan said, but it’s just as important

to have perishable items.

“When I first started this, we couldn’t

give as much perishable goods as I wanted

to,” Sullivan said. “It was hard to keep butter

in my room and milk and eggs. We figured

with a lot of this stuff we give them …

you know they need other things like milk

for the day.”

Fortunately, Sullivan said, the community

is generous. She said the students

have received more donations than she

can count, including a donation drop-off at

Harts Family Center. All the items donated

at Harts, Sullivan said, will be included in

the Thanksgiving baskets.

“The community is very, very helpful.

I have several businesses that give us gift

cards,” Sullivan said. “People personally

will give us gift cards.”

Sullivan credited her students with getting

the baskets together, saying they raise money

all year to be able to fill the baskets. The

students use that money to buy Thanksgiving

dinner staples, like canned corn, canned

green beans, canned peas, cornbread mix,

pie crust, canned evaporated milk, pumpkin

pie mix, box cakes, canned cake icing, applesauce,

canned fruit, box stuffing, boxed

instant potatoes, canned soup, canned cranberries,

canned gravy, cereal and canned

sweet potatoes.

“The students give quite a bit of money,

and they raise money,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan remembered when FBLA started

the Thanksgiving basket fundraiser

years ago. The reason she encouraged her

students to help families, Sullivan said, is

because she saw how many families are in

need in Eureka Springs.

“I always wanted to do something for the

community. There are a lot of people that

need help in town, more than people in the

town know about,” Sullivan said.

The families pick up the baskets at the

high school, Sullivan said, and her students

deliver them at the door.

“That means a lot to them, because

they’re seeing how people react to a gift

being given to them,” Sullivan said. “I’ve

had people say, ‘How do I put this on my

car seat so I can give you your basket back?’

and we have to let them know they get that

basket, and more tears come.”

Senior Jordon Henley, president of the

Eureka Springs FBLA, said there are no

leaders when it comes to the Thanksgiving

baskets.

“We all work together. We don’t have a

leader. We all work together as a group,”

Henley said. “We all try to ask people,

‘Please bring some cans in please.’ We ask

family members. We ask relatives to bring

cans we can donate to this.”

She added, “We’re working together, but

we’re all leaders in a sense, because we’re

doing this for a larger cause and we’re

working together as a whole. I feel that’s a

very important aspect as a leader, to be able

to work together.”

It’s especially vital to work together on an

project like this, Henley said, when you live

in a small town like Eureka Springs.

“It’s really important to focus on the less

fortunate families. We don’t really think

there are that many, but there are,” Henley

said. “To be able to do this and to be able to

have families that are more fortunate come

in and even less fortunate families bring

cans to give and share with people in the

community that can’t afford a Thanksgiving

dinner … it’s really great to see.”

Royal agreed.

“It feels like we’re actually making a difference,

because our town is so small and

it’s so easy for people to not be recognized,”

Royal said. “When we’re doing this, we’re

helping everybody. We’re going out to make

a difference and to make our town better.”Being part of the project, senior Syama

Barden said, has shown him the ways he can

support the less fortunate.

“It’s such an accessible way to help your

community, and it’s right there in front of

you,” Barden said. “We’re learning about

giving back to the community. I think it’s

a really good project that needs some more

attention.”

Seeing her students help others, Sullivan

said, makes her feel proud.

“I’ve always told them on Thanksgiving

day when they sit down at their tables to realize

that as a whole they have fed 30 other

families that would normally not have a

Thanksgiving dinner,” Sullivan said. “I am

trying to teach my students through FBLA

to be better and to think of other other people

besides themselves.”

It’s not too late to help, Henley said. She

encouraged everyone to donate to the food

drive before the baskets are distributed

Nov. 16.

“We do have baskets sitting at Harts

that we are asking other community members

to donate to. If they buy some cans at

Harts, they can put them in there,” Henley

said. “We will collect those and put them

with everything else. It’s not just FBLA

doing this. It’s not just Eureka Springs

School that is helping. We want the whole

community to get involved and raise

awareness.

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