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Potsdam students help St. Mary’s with Thanksgiving packages

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POTSDAM - Thanks in large part to the assistance of several student and community organizations, 107 families who might have went hungry Thursday got to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast.

Pat Reichart, who coordinated the effort for St. Mary’s Catholic Church said the packages contained everything a family needs for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

“There’s turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, milk margarine and other various food items,” she said. “It’s not just for Thanksgiving, it’s also to help get them through the holidays.”

Among the student groups participating in the efforts was the Interact Club from A.A. Kingston Middle School.

Club President Emily Fecketter said it was a project she was proud to be a part of.

“I think we all had a good time,” she said.

Sergeant At Arms M.J. Plastino said the group spent a day at the Potsdam Walmart soliciting donations for the effort.

“We stood outside Walmart for two hours, handed out flyers to people and asked them if they would consider purchasing these items while they were shopping,” she said.

“We told them if they would keep these items in mind while they were shopping, it would be a big help to the people of Potsdam,” Ms. Fecketter said.

And the response the girls got was overwhelming.

Ms. Fecketter recalled an elderly woman who took a flier before entering the store. When she left, she handed the girls three bags of items, got in her car and left, carrying no bags for herself.

Ms. Plastino recalled a similar situation with an older gentleman who asked what students were doing standing outside Walmart on a cold Sunday afternoon.

“He said, ‘So you’re standing out here in the cold for these people. You must be awesome,’” she recalled.

Emily Brouwer who serves as faculty advisor for the club said this is a service project they do each year.

And while the project was fun for all involved, Ms. Brouwer said doing community service has a little extra special meaning for her.

“I like doing community service, because when I was little the Red Cross helped me because we had a house fire.”

The club is also preparing for another holiday-themed project, where they partner with the Red Cross Club to send holiday cards to the wounded veterans.

Ms. Reichart noted their efforts also received help from the Key Club, Circle Club, K-Kids and Boy Scout Troop 77, as well as several other adult organizations.

“It’s definitely a community effort,” she said. “It’s just something our church has always done.”

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