The high school leadership program Teen Voice, established in 2008, has created a fundraiser to help put food onto more than 100 families tables during Thanksgiving. Families that cannot afford to have a Thanksgiving dinner will be helped out by “Thanksgiving Baskets” put together by Teen Voice volunteers and the community.
“Teen voice is a community outreach program that has been working in Ventura County for quite awhile now, and every year we do a Thanksgiving meal fundraiser where we help the families in Title One schools,” Teen Voice volunteer and senior Amelia Gomez said.
Title one schools are schools that have students in need of financial aid or students who meet requirements for federal support.
“We fundraise and gather donations for dinners and then we put all of them together and give them out a few days before thanksgiving,” said Gomez.
The volunteers help organize individual events like Foothill’s food drive.
“Every high school is given an item to collect. Foothill is mashed potatoes and gravy, so we have teachers that are doing little competitions and what not; we are just hoping for the best,” senior and Teen Voice volunteer Trevor Morrison said.
In previous years, Teen Voice has had to support the fundraiser directly to reach its goal, but last year the program achieved this purely through community donations. Even groups like the Ventura County Fire and Police Departments support the program.
“It has just gotten easier and easier as the years have gone by as more people help out, and last year we actually didn’t have to pay anything; it was literally 100 percent donations of either people donating money or food,” Gomez said.
Gomez, Morrison, and another student volunteer, senior Lauren Amendola, all participate in the program and help organize events similar to the Thanksgiving food fundraiser.
“It’s very beneficial, it’s helps you knock out your community service hours, and makes you feel better as a person when you’re doing stuff to help your community,” Morrison said.
Everyone, including Foothill students, thinks that the effort put forth by Teen Voice volunteers is very valuable.
“I think our community can really benefit from these people and these cherishing moments,” sophomore Adam Vork said.
The families have been very thankful in response to their efforts.
“Some families came in and said that if it was not for us they wouldn’t be eating for Thanksgiving. A little girl actually came up and hugged some people and it was very warming,” Morrison said.