Were it not for Hurricane Sandy, would anyone have guessed the sheer number of isolated, vulnerable individuals that existed in a place like Coney Island, without family or friends to rely on in a crisis? As often happens in a calamitous situation, the fragile nature of people’s existence—some perilously closer to the edge than others—is exposed. Holidays—though they bring joy to many—can also underscore the loneliness that others without festive plans may feel.
In Mamaroneck, however, students at the French-American School of New York (FASNY) are determined not to let anyone feel left behind during the holiday season.
For the fifth year, 40 volunteers comprised of 20 sixth-eighth graders and 20 high school students along with 10 adults, will give up part of their Thanksgiving to help serve others at the 2012 Soup Kitchen Luncheon from 11:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the upper school cafeteria located at 145 New St. in Mamaroneck.
According to Anita Giordano, the community service coordinator and FASNY school counselor, the project is organized by a group of high school students and an adult facilitator, and, in past years, has served between 100-200 members of the Larchmont-Mamaroneck community.
“The ambiance in the cafeteria was one of giving and sharing. Students and teachers sat with people and interacted with the guests and cared enough to find out a little bit about them,” said Giordano about last year’s event.
“People took leftovers home for other family members who could not join them, as well as a grocery bag filled with donated food items.”
Students raise funds throughout the year for the luncheon by holding bake sales and the remainder of the food, including stuffing, mashed potatoes and beverages, are donated by local supermarkets during student-coordinated food drives.
In order to get the word out about the soup kitchen, the school notifies local organizations like the Hispanic Resource Center, the Community Action Program (CAP) Center and passes out fliers in the community. Leftover food is donated directly to the CAP Center, said Giordano.
If last year's experience was any indication of future success, this year will not disappoint.
“Everyone’s participation and hard work made this luncheon a great success and it was a pleasure working with such a terrific team,” she said.