Every November more than 200 students in the National Honor Society (NHS) at Skyridge High School have a tradition of donating the food for Thanksgiving dinner to local families in need. All the funds had been raised, but Governor Gary Herbert’s executive order enacting statewide COVID-19 restrictions starting Nov. 9 meant students could no longer participate in extracurricular activities. Teachers and NHS advisers at Skyridge volunteered their Saturday, Nov. 14, to shop for Thanksgiving dinner for 54 Lehi families and deliver the boxes of food in their students’ place.

“Every NHS group was so creative with their fundraisers for the Thanksgiving baskets, and the community really came through with donations,” said Mindy Hinckley, NHS adviser and Science Department chair at Skyridge. Hinckley is in charge of the Thanksgiving basket activity each year. “The students usually do the shopping and deliveries. Since there are so many of them it doesn’t take very long, but this year they couldn’t help at all,” Hinckley continued.

Hinckley got the word out that the NHS needed help completing its Thanksgiving basket drive, and within minutes she had more than a dozen teachers volunteer to help with shopping and delivery on Saturday, as well as other clubs offer to donate items from their fundraisers. “I had just heard from the manager at Smith’s that we wouldn’t have enough potatoes for all the boxes. Then the wrestling coach offered to give us the boxes of potatoes left over from their fundraiser. Every year there are little miracles with this activity, and this year it was the potatoes,” said Hinckley.

“This was really a collaborative project,” said Annie Watson, president of the NHS at Skyridge. “From the NHS students who raised funds to the people in the community who bought or donated items through those students. We had strangers who randomly donated to our activity. Our faculty really came through with the shopping and delivering, and they were so willing to help us.”

“I truly appreciate our amazing faculty who stepped up to fill in for the students when extracurricular activities were paused,” said Dr. Joel Perkins, principal at Skyridge. “Despite having a long work week in these challenging circumstances, our faculty and staff spent hours shopping on a Saturday morning to help bring our NHS students’ vision to pass. Their dedication to our students and to our community is overwhelming.”

The NHS students and advisers start looking weeks in advance for families that could use help getting the food for Thanksgiving dinner. “We know some of the recipients – we teach their kids and we love those kids. It’s nice for them to know they have all they need to make their Thanksgiving dinner and they can do it safely in their own homes,” said Hinckley.

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