The SPARCS Junior Alternate program students at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) once again pulled off a successful turkey lunch for students and staff on Dec. 19.
SPARCS youth care worker Melody McIntosh says student manager Taylor Parks planned all of the cooking, organizing and donation totalling, and did a “very lovely” job of it.
Thanks to Parks and all the other SPARCS student volunteers, the lunch raised $364 and collected 200 donations for the 100 Mile Food Bank, as they cooked and served hot turkey meals to a total of 285 people, she explains.
In lieu of students buying their noontime meal, the annual turkey luncheon is provided in exchange for a donation of a non-perishable food item, new toy or cash to be donated to the 100 Mile House Food Bank Society for distribution to people in need in the community.
SPARCS is an acronym for skills, potentials, attitudes, responsibilities and capabilities for success.
Melody’s husband, Andy McIntosh, is the Alternate classroom teacher, where they “work together as a pair,” she adds.
They both took over the task of serving later in the turkey lunch to give the SPARCS students a chance to enjoy their own holiday meals.
Melody says as part of developing attributes and capacities, students have taken on the predominant role in cafeteria food preparation at PSO, which gives them a chance to have work experience and to get out of the classroom.
Taylor, 16, says “it was busy” with five SPARCS students serving all the hot meals – turkey, stuffing, all the vegetables and gravy fed out to almost 300 students, with candy canes handed out for dessert.
This is her second year as the student leader responsible for the turkey lunch fundraiser, Taylor says, adding she “definitely” enjoys it enough to do it again next year.
“I love cooking and helping out.”
As student manager, Taylor explains she also works with her youth worker “Mel” in the PSO kitchen to cook the noontime meals served in the student cafeteria on Tuesdays and Thursdays, available for all the students to buy a hot lunch if they wish.
The Secret Santa program also serves any students in the school who are identified by staff as perhaps needing a turkey lunch as a gift.