Students from St. Bernadette School helped pack and serve some 3,000 warm Thanksgiving meals to senior citizens Nov. 23 as part of an Aurora tradition.
Lakewood school principal Laura Dement led 31 students in fifth- through eighth-grade pack and serve turkey with all the trimmings during the Aurora Senior Citizens Thanksgiving Dinner volunteer project at the Aurora Eagles Club, 1151 S. Galena St., in Denver.
“The idea is there are so many people, particularly senior citizens, that end up without family to celebrate this important tradition with,” said Dement, who’s volunteered for years. “It’s a special thing for them to have something together with a large group of like-people. Also, it’s to help them feel appreciated.”
After a week of preparation and a potato peeling contest, 400 donors and volunteers helped foot the grocery bill to buy a filling dinner for seniors.
St. Bernadette students participated for the first time as part of their community service project.
“They’re just learning part of what we do as Catholics—serve others. We’re servant leaders. I think it helps them to experience that and it feels pretty good,” Dement said.
The Aurora VFW Post, Aurora Police Department and Association, Lions Club and fire departments also pitch in to help deliver meals to the homebound.
The tradition dates back to 1976 when John Brown and Walter Pleger organized the first Thanksgiving dinner for seniors. Since then, some 90,000 free meals costing about $10,000 have been prepared and served, made possible through donors’ contributions.