, Salem, MA

November 19, 2012

Lesson in caring: Students, staff donate to pantry

By Bethany Bray

---- — HAMILTON — Students and staff at Hamilton-Wenham’s high and middle schools donated money and food items to supply more than 100 Thanksgiving dinners to the Acord Food Pantry this week.

Students dropped off 110 bags — each with a turkey, a bag of potatoes, carrots, onions, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and a pie.

It’s the third year that the school has collaborated on a Thanksgiving food drive for Acord. The staff donates money for turkeys, and the students bring in all the fixings.

“We’re a very affluent community, but even within our community there is a lot of need, and sometimes that goes unnoticed,” said Kevan Sano, head of the Spanish department. “I said, ‘Let’s try and do our part.’”

Sano leads Interact, a student-run community service club that spearheads the food drive. The club will collect toys for Toys for Tots as its next project, she said.

Sano, who has taught in Hamilton-Wenham for 22 years, said she decided to start the Thanksgiving food drive out of frustration over a lack of community service at the high school.

The initiative has been a teaching tool, as well as generating a sense of community at the high school, she said. The Interact club has grown from 15 to 70 members in the process.

“I hope it becomes part of our culture,” she said.

Acord Food Pantry in downtown Hamilton is open twice a week, distributing food to residents of Hamilton, Wenham, Ipswich, Topsfield, Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea.

Bethany Bray can be reached at and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.