SHS Peer Helpers Conduct 2021 Thanksgiving Food Drive

The freshmen take first in the class donation competition

Peer Helpers gather the boxes of meals designated for families in the Sanford community.
Source: Beth Letourneau

SANFORD, Maine – The Peer Helpers Club has finished its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive and class competition, which challenges each class to help provide canned goods to SHS families in the spirit of the Thanksgiving season. 

Each year, our school’s Peer Helpers Club sets up the drive to give food baskets to at least 35 SHS families for Thanksgiving. Along with it, the club sets up a competition between the classes. The class that donates the most wins a prize for their entire grade.

Students in each class are invited to donate a specific Thanksgiving food to the drive for their class. This year, the Freshmen were asked to provide instant mashed potatoes, the Sophomores had gravy and cranberry sauce, the Juniors were asked to bring canned veggies and the Seniors brought stuffing. 

This year, the Freshmen won the competition. They will be watching “Elf” starring Will Ferrell in the Performing Arts Center during block four on Dec. 22.

“The hope of the SHS Peer Helpers is that the Thanksgiving meal lightens [the families’] financial loads, as well as shows them that the SHS community cares about them,” says Beth Letourneau, the Peer Helpers Club advisor. “Delivering to families is always heartwarming with the amount of gratitude that is expressed. In life, it is a blessing to be a blessing to others.”

“In life, it is a blessing to be a blessing to others.”

Beth Letourneau, School Counseling Department

According to Letourneau, it takes at least a month to prepare the drive. This includes advertising, finding collection boxes, locating families that need help, requesting donations, buying food, delivering and more.

The Peer Helpers Club (many current members pictured left) has been doing this drive since 2013, with much help from the Sanford and SHS community. 

Money is also donated from many members of SHS staff, school clubs, athletic teams, non-profit groups, and local community businesses. 

The School Counseling Department finds and reaches out to SHS families that might want a food basket and delivers the food at the end of the drive. 

Unfortunately, the amount of student participation in the drive this year was much lower than usual. 

“This was [the] lowest amount of food we have collected in a food drive ever,” said Letourneau. “So to be honest I was disappointed.” However, enough money was raised to purchase the rest of the needed items. 

 “It is a great experience every year to help 40 SHS families receive a Thanksgiving Basket,” says Letourneau. “While the SHS Peer Helpers provide this holiday meal once a year, we are a lucky community to have the incredible weekly work of the Sanford Backpack Program, which distributes food every week across the district to students.”

Letourneau also added, “If you or a friend are in need of food at home, please do not hesitate to reach out to your school counselor, teacher or administrator and we can connect you to resources. You do not need to go hungry!”

SHS Peer Helpers stand in front of the sorted meal boxes built from class donations.
Source: Beth Letourneau

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