Students Serve Up Annual Thank You for Volunteers
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner November 27, 2003
Written by Mary Beth Smetzer, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Staff Writer
On Wednesday morning, 18-year-old David McCauley was doing the mashed potato, not to music but with a wire whisk, whipping up some of the 40 pounds of boiled spuds prepared by students at the Career Education Center.
Peeling potatoes, chopping onions, roasting turkeys, serving salad and pouring juice becomes part of the volunteer curriculum for CES students every Thanksgiving.
For the past five years, the alternative high school, located above the Fairbanks Community Food Bank, has prepared a holiday meal for Food Bank and community volunteers who hand out Thanksgiving food boxes to those in need.
McCauley said the communal kitchen experience taught him about dealing with "a whole bunch of people in the kitchen.
"I kind of fell into the groove a little bit. I had to learn or you wouldn't survive," he said.
Students started preparing Tuesday for Wednesday's feast, then served themselves when everyone was finished eating.
Wednesday, red-cheeked volunteers, stiff with cold from directing traffic at the Food Bank pickup site, eagerly tucked into heaping plates of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans and green salad.
The smiling faces of CES student servers greeted each guest as they ladled out the hearty meal.
"You get to meet a whole bunch of new people," said Vernice Hayes, 19.
Miranda Lockwood, 18, nodded in agreement.
"You get free food and get to help people," she added.
Christina Finneseth, 16, busily washing pots and pans, said she was enjoying the break from studying. Earlier, she had joined a group of other students peeling potatoes.
"I felt like I was in the military," she joked.
Andrea Carter, 17, was involved in serving and cleanup.
"I needed eight hours of volunteer time for my government class," she explained.
"It's a nice time of the year to volunteer," she added. "I'm also going to volunteer at the pound (borough animal shelter) ... My mom's afraid I'm going to come home with more pets."
By early afternoon, the volunteers and students had devoured 12 small turkeys (8 to 10 pounds each), 40 pounds of whisked potatoes, 10 boxes of stuffing, six cans of cranberry sauce, 12 cans of green beans, a bunch of rolls and a dozen assorted pies.
A large pan of leftover turkey was delivered to the Rescue Mission.
The highest compliment for the holiday repast was summed up by one of the North Pole Christian School student volunteer food box packers.
Alana Lincoln, 13, who normally doesn't like turkey, said, "This turkey is bom-diggitty-dee!"