The Pueblo West View

Basket project provides food for hungry

Hundreds of families throughout the Pueblo community will have turkey this Thanksgiving, as well as lots of other food to stock the cupboards with thanks to the annual Tom and Louie’s Cupboard thanksgiving basket project.

Each year, students from all the area high schools, including Pueblo West, help put together the massive collection and distribution, which this year served 600 families in Pueblo County.

Schools and other organizations and businesses collect canned goods.

Individual schools purchase other items, and everyone chips in to donate enough turkeys to make the baskets a reality for so many who need them.

Students involved in the project said it’s a great community event they were glad to be part of.

“It’s a really great experience,” said Pueblo West High School junior Jacob Sloan on delivery day.

“I think it’s really important to reach out. There are people who are struggling and it’s important to help them have the quality of life that some of us take for granted.”

Pueblo West High School collected about 200 of the needed turkeys.

Student Council Advisor Michelle Erickson said all families from Pueblo West High School received a phone call asking them to consider donating a turkey to the schools “turkey toss” if possible.

Trucks were parked at the school one afternoon and residents could come by and “toss” their turkey into the trucks for donation.

OTHER GROUPS AND clubs at the school did their part to help get extra turkeys, like the choir who performed as “song birds” for area businesses in exchange for a turkey donation.

Along with the turkey, every family in the community who receives one of the Tom and Louie’s Cupboard baskets gets a large box containing about 50 cans or items of non-perishable food, three pounds of rice, six pounds of beans, five pounds of potatoes and a loaf of bread.

Pueblo West High School senior Allie Bravo, who has volunteered for the basket project all four years, said making the deliveries is definitely her favorite part.

“To see how thankful families are for it is wonderful,” she said.

Bravo also noted how it’s great that students from all the area schools – who are often rivals in sports and other competition – work together in true community spirit.

“It’s really good that we can put aside our competitiveness and come together for the community,” she said.

A tent at the State Fairgrounds is used for staging the delivery, which was held on Nov. 23.

An estimated 140 student volunteers from all local high schools, as well as many other parent and community volunteers, worked to put together the boxes, pack trucks and deliver.

Pueblo GIS compiled all the recipient information into area maps to help make delivery easier.

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