Redding Elementary School PTA Turkey Drive helps 27 Redding families

Some students helped Tamar Dessner shop for turkeys to donate to the Connecticut Food Bank after collecting money for the Redding Elementary School Turkey Drive. From left are Mary O’Connor, Hayley Osmun, Sean Sindel, and Max Monson in front.

The Redding Elementary School Parent Teacher Association raised just over $1,200 during its Turkey Drive at the school.

The Turkey Drive was held from Nov. 5 to Nov. 15 to raise money for Redding families to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Tamar Dessner, community service chair for the PTA, said there was enough money to provide grocery gift cards to 27 Redding families in need for Thanksgiving meals.

“We also used the rest of the money to buy frozen turkeys which were given to the Connecticut Food Bank,” said Ms. Dessner. “We delivered to the food bank 48 frozen Butterball 14- to 16-pound turkeys.”

This is the third year the PTA has raised money for gift cards instead of putting together food baskets, she said.

“I made that decision for several reasons. The first is that you never know if the families even like the food we are giving them (cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc.). The second is that we aren’t told how many people are in each family but are providing the same baskets with the same amount of food for each family regardless of how many children they may have. Another reason is that with the baskets, we are assuming they are celebrating Thanksgiving at their houses. For all we know they are going somewhere else. With a gift card they can choose what they want to get with it — or need to get with it,” said Ms. Dessner.

There was also a grocery cart in the elementary school lobby to help replenish the Redding Food Pantry at the Community Center.

Residents donated paper goods, hygiene items, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and other nonperishable items.

“I do plan on doing it again next year, unless a better idea comes along. I’ve had very positive feedback from Gail Schiron, the social services director who works with these families, regarding the gift cards vs. baskets,” said Ms. Dessner.

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