LADUE, MO (KTVI) – Students at MICDS in Ladue spent part of their Monday trying to make this Thursday special for local families in need, by staging their annual Turkey Train.
“We actually used to do this drive every year and then one teacher said we should do something creative, and someone said well how about little bucket brigade or a turkey brigade and it just caught on and everybody loved it,” said Nancy Richardson MICDS Director of Community Service.
Shortly after 8:00am Monday, students formed a long line down the middle of the campus, taking frozen turkeys they brought from home, passing them to the next person in line, sending about 700 turkeys to a food truck headed for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
“It’s more festive this way and it is a really good tradition. Everyone looks forward to it every single year,” said MICDS Senior Maleeha Habib.
Freshman Samantha Felling found the experience both enjoyable and emotional, “I think it is special that we have the Turkey Train because just the feeling of passing around the turkeys to everyone brings everyone together and it gives you the feeling you are helping out, and it is really fun also.”
This year, the Turkey Train is more important than ever because federal support for food pantries is down at the same time the need is up.
“There are more and more families that need assistance than ever before,” said Bethany Prange, communications director for the St. Louis Area Foodbank. “All of our pantries tell us they are seeing new faces, new people, that have never needed food before.”
For Sophomore Shreya Anand, this was her second year working on the Turkey Train, “I think it is a great way for the community to come together, have fun, we have music, hot chocolate, but we also feel a great cause in the community around us.”
In addition to turkeys, the students also brought canned food to school.
Students from the middle and lower grades will participate too with the presentation of canned goods for the food bank volunteers. In all, about 600 students are involved. Last year alone, the turkey train collected 7,900 pounds of frozen turkey and 3,100 pounds of non-perishable food items. That will feed about 8,800 families.