Denise J. Rabon is one very thankful Ohio Elementary mom.
Her family will receive a Thanksgiving dinner thanks to the 21 letters Amy J. Briggss fourth-grade class wrote to Walmart asking the corporation to contribute nonperishables to the class food drive.
Two representatives from the Walmart Supercenter on outer Arsenal Street showed up in Mrs. Briggss classroom Monday armed with four bags of Thanksgiving favorites such as jellied cranberry sauce, stuffing and canned green beans.
The school nurse gave me a list of four families that were in need and I drew two of them to help, Mrs. Briggs said. We were asking the kids to bring in nonperishable items, and I told them if they brought in enough, I would donate two turkeys.
However, the students decided they also wanted to write letters to Price Chopper to increase their chances of getting these local families their Thanksgiving meals. Price Chopper didnt respond to the letters.
When the class got a call from Walmart Assistant Manager Nancy A. Rust, they could not contain their excitement.
Our whole class jumped up and we were screaming, said Madison R. Clark, 9. Its nice just to be able to help families who dont have what we have.
Another student usually makes food donations with her family and was excited about her classs charity efforts this year.
I love to donate, said Katie R. MacLagan, 9. I was so excited, I wrote like five rough drafts for my final copy.
Ms. Rust was so touched by the students letters that she volunteered to bring the donation bags to the class to show the children what impact their idea had. She said it is not usual for the company to donate to schools in person.
It was very heartfelt, she said. It meant more because it was the kids sending it, not the teacher. How could we not? Its so close to Thanksgiving.
Walmart Training Coordinator Victoria C. Meyer said she was the first to see the letters when they came in the mail Monday morning.
When I actually read the letters, I said, OK, Im not going to cry, she said. Its good for them to pay it forward.
Before the representatives came, Mrs. Briggs talked with her class about what it means to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and how much each traditional item costs. She said she may buy two more turkeys if there are enough donations.
She did not share the families names with the class for confidentiality reasons. However, the donations changed Mrs. Rabons holiday. Her husband, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, has been without a job since April, and she works as a food service employee at Starbuck Elementary School. She has four children, including Daniel, who attends Ohio Elementary.
Its pretty hard with a part-time job, so its nice to get a breather, she said. Im very thankful.