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ST. MARYS — Students from the Mercer and Auglaize county area took time out of their school day to serve an early Thanksgiving meal as part of an annual fundraiser.
The students at the Tri Star Dennings Building in St. Marys prepared and served an early Thanksgiving dinner for their peers, administrators and others during the annual event on Wednesday.
“We strive really hard to include community activities with Skills USA,” Med Prep instructor Janet Nelson said. “Because our kids come from nine schools, we try to include both Auglaize and Mercer counties.”
Wednesday’s Thanksgiving meal, which was held from noon to 1 p.m., cost $5 for those who came and ate. The money raised from the meal will go toward the Angel Tree program in Mercer County.
“We held the canned food drive for Auglaize County,” Nelson said, noting the collection held last week to benefit Agape Ministries Inc. “This is for the Adopt an Angel Tree program in Mercer County.”
The students also went out and collected donations for the meal, which included turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, dessert, fruit cocktail and drinks.
“For $5, you can’t beat it,” Nelson said.
She said they were hoping for 60 to 65 attendees at Wednesday’s meal.
“We invited our students, the administration from all the schools, the Tri Star administration and people who have impacted the kids throughout the year,” Nelson said.
The students at the Tri Star Dennings building have been donating Christmas gifts to needy children and families through the Angel Tree program for more than 15 years.
“It’s student-generated money, it’s a student-generated activity,” Nelson said. “They got the donations, they did the work and they will go shopping.”
Next month, Nelson noted students will head to O.U.R. Home Family Resource Center.
“We go to the church and help distribute the items to get everything ready for the parents to come get the stuff,” she said. “It’s eye-opening for the kids.”
Nelson noted the money raised from this year’s fundraiser — in the last five years the Dennings Building students have generated money and purchased gifts for the Angel Tree program almost totaling $14,000 — will help 194 children.
“It’s all student-generated,” she said. “It’s money out of their pockets, raised money — it’s all student-generated. It’s such a valuable lesson for them to learn.”