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Volunteers working to collect and organize this year’s Women Involved in Newtown (WIN) Thanksgiving Basket Program donations were kept busy on November 17, between local schools and other groups that worked to gather food donations for the effort.
WIN works in conjunction with Newtown Social Services to ensure that Newtown’s needy families have food for the holiday season. According to WIN Co-Presidents Mandy Monaco and Cyndy DaSilva, this year’s collection will supply 75 Newtown families with enough food — and pet food — to last from Thanksgiving until Christmas.
This year, Middle Gate Elementary School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown Middle School, Reed Intermediate School, and Fraser Woods Montessori School all contributed to the effort. Newtown United Methodist Church and Grace Family Church of Newtown also collected for the effort, according to Ms DaSilva.
Reed Student Council advisors Lara Brown and Matthew Brown said that two clusters — Petrice DiVanno and Matt Dalton’s cluster and Erika Michaels and Todd Stentiford’s cluster — raised the most donations of the whole school.
Together the clusters collected roughly 3,000 food items for the school’s collection.
“We have an overwhelming amount of food, which is fabulous,” said Ms Brown.
Middle Gate held its annual Turkey Trot, organized by physical education teacher Laura Cooper. The event, held on Monday, November 13, had students donate a canned good or other food item to participate in a walk around the perimeter of the school. Classes at Middle Gate also had collections in classrooms that were gathered together on Friday.
Volunteers drove to the participating locations to pick up all of the donations on Friday, and volunteers worked at Newtown United Methodist Church on November 17 to organize and sort the collection this year, for delivery in time for Thanksgiving. Students in Newtown High School’s Newtown Community Program helped sort goods alongside eighth grade students from Fraser Woods Montessori School.