Teen-Voice provides food for needy families

Juniors Celeste Lopez and Sandra Teran organize pies before handing them out in Thanksgiving Baskets to needy families. Credit: Eva Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Eva Morales

Juniors Celeste Lopez and Sandra Teran organize pies before handing them out in Thanksgiving Baskets to needy families. Credit: Eva Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press.

It’s a sad reality that not all families are able to provide a Thanksgiving dinner for themselves. But for a 100 lucky families, Teen-Voice handed out their annual Thanksgiving Baskets yesterday.

The city of Ventura’s High School Leadership Program Teen-Voice called upon students from Foothill, Ventura, Buena, El Camino and Pacific to make Thanksgiving Baskets for these families.

Teen-Voice’s mission is to build positive relationships between high school students and the community. It also helps provide opportunities for community involvement, betterment of their school and city and engage youth in productive leadership activities.

Julia Culbertson Teen-Voice adviser for Foothill said, “Ventura has a high rate of poverty so the city of Ventura wants to do something to help these families. The city community service department had been doing the Thanksgiving Baskets for many years, but when Teen-Voice was created they wanted us to help, they wanted the community to be more involved and help instead of them having to buy everything.”

Thanksgiving baskets are a project that Teen-Voice has been doing for 2 years now. 

“The first year didn’t turn out like Teen-Voice wanted because the school wasn’t involved, Teen-Voice basically bought everything. The second year was a little better but the teachers were the most involved and Teen-Voice still had to provide about 75% of food,” Culbertson said, “This year, we want the community to be involved, especially the schools.”

Many families who would not have otherwise been able to have a Thanksgiving meal were chosen by school principals to receive Teen-Voice’s baskets.

Kara Morison a senior at Foothill and member of Teen-Voice said, “I know if I were in need, knowing that someone else could provide for me would be a great feeling.”

Foothill was given the duty to collect 100 pies and 100 rolls for the Thanksgiving baskets. The other four schools were in charge of collecting stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, juice, sodas, and canned goods.  Turkeys were donated by Golden Line Towing and by Police Officer Frank Padilla. City Hall employees donated $800 to cover the cost of buying any food that wasn’t collected. 

Although Foothill’s goal was to collect 100 pies and 100 rolls, it was not reached: only 17 pies collected. However, some families did donate money.

“I expected more from Foothill, since community service is such a big deal in our school, it really hurts that we couldn’t reach the goal, a lot of less fortunate families really benefit from this meal,” said Morison.

Still, Mario Robinson, the Main Coordinator of all of Teen-Voices activities, was happy with the turnout.

“I’m happy we were able to give complete meals to families in need, but seeing the children’s faces is the best part,” Robinson said.

Some of the families that received the Thanksgiving Baskets filled out a commentary sheet. A few of the comments were: “This is something truly special because now all my family can come together for this meal,” “This is a true blessing to my family,” “My family is so grateful for all your hard work, God will bless you,” and “This is something truly special because now all my family can come together for this meal.”

Robinson said, “I will always remember two years ago when we were handing out Thanksgiving dinners and a family called to say that they were running late and asked if we would wait for them. We waited and when the family showed up, a little girl ran in and gave everybody a hug. She told us that if we had not waited for them they would not have had a Thanksgiving meal.” 

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