Holland, MI- Students and instructors in the Agriculture and Animal Science and Culinary Arts programs at Careerline Tech Center (CTC) donate Thanksgiving food baskets to Tech students and their families in need to ensure all students can enjoy a homemade Thanksgiving meal. While creating these baskets, students build upon classroom skills and help others at the same time.
Careerline Tech staff members work with staff and counselors from local school districts to identify students in need and meet with each student individually to verify their desire to receive a basket and arrange for pick up or delivery.
“We started the Thanksgiving program in 2008 when our student services staff took up a monetary collection to purchase food after realizing there were a number of students struggling financially,” Mary Hamberg, special education consultant for CTC, said. “The response from the families was so great; we knew we had to continue the program.”
What started as a canned goods drive quickly grew into food baskets with donated chickens that the Agriculture and Animal Science program students raised as part of their curriculum. Instructor Tony McCaul said that after his students compete in a chicken broiler competition each November, there is a surplus, and decided donating to the baskets was a perfect fit. Culinary Arts and Pastry instructors and students joined in to complete the meal adding homemade pie, rolls, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and squash donated by CTC staff and business partner Delange’s Red Berry Farm.
“The items students make offer practice in measuring, portioning, planning, organizing, and of course cooking, baking and working with chef knives,” Jill Landman, culinary and pastry arts instructor for CTC, said. “The students love working on this project and see direct results of their efforts. The food they make goes to Careerline Tech Center students in need, often their classmates or even their own family.”
The Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving are delivery days when 15-20 CTC staff volunteers drive throughout the county delivering baskets to student’s homes after work. This year 40 baskets were delivered.
Operated by Ottawa Area ISD, Careerline Tech Center prepares high school juniors and seniors for tomorrow’s workforce by providing career and technical education in more than 25 career areas. CTC serves students from public and private high schools, as well as those who are homeschooled, within the following local school districts: Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Hamilton, Holland, Hudsonville, Jenison, Saugatuck, Spring Lake, West Ottawa, and Zeeland.
For more information, contact Mary Hamberg, (616) 738-8950 x4334 or