Students engage in charity work during season of giving
For many, Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate family and friends, meet with distant relatives, and eat too much turkey for dinner. But for some students, it is also a time for giving to those in need. From volunteering at a soup kitchen to running in a Turkey Trot, students at WHS are demonstrating the many ways one can leave an impact on their community.
A poll of 59 WHS students showed that 54.4% are donating to a food bank, 22.8% are participating in Turkey Trots, and 21.1% are volunteering at an organization or a soup kitchen for Thanksgiving.
Around this time of year, junior Robert Mosher volunteers at Bristol Lodge alongside other WHS Rotary Interact Club members. Mosher is the co-president of the Rotary Interact Club along with senior Nicole Kendall.
“We’re hoping to volunteer at Bristol Lodge once a month throughout the year. Right now, we know for sure that we’re doing it around Thanksgiving,” he said.
According to Mosher, working within a club like Rotary Interact offers him resources when planning volunteer activities.
“[Rotary Interact] is a great way for people to be able to do the community service that they want to do,” Mosher said. “We’re sponsored by the adult Rotary Club, which includes people from Weston and Wayland.”
Meanwhile, senior Hannah Brown is putting her experiences as a track athlete to good use by running in the Wellesley Turkey Trot, a five-kilometer run around Linden Square.
“It’s a really great race and has become a Thanksgiving tradition for my family,” Brown said. “I want to get the whole cross country team to do it this year, since it’s right after the season ends and would be such a fun thing to do as a team.”
All proceeds from the Wellesley Turkey Trot go to local charities in the areas of cancer, medical research, education, and more. According to Brown, giving back to the community is a major reason why she participates and supports this event.
“It’s a really rewarding experience to know that not only did I pay to just have fun and do a run with my friends and family, but the money is also going to a good cause,” she said.
Junior Bharathi Subbiah is preparing to volunteer in local soup kitchens, which she often does around this Thanksgiving time. For Subbiah, the relationships she forms when volunteering in soup kitchens makes the experience worthwhile.
“Can drives are obviously amazing, but especially with soup kitchen volunteering, you know exactly who you’re interacting with and the person you are helping. It takes just a couple hours and no money to do,” she said.
Subbiah is also a part of Project 351, a state-wide organization comprised of students from multiple districts who work together for charity. In Weston public schools, one student from each grade is nominated in 8th grade to participate in the organization.
“In that group is [sophomore] Lena Bartolotti, [freshman] Caitlyn Rhatigan, and [senior] Michael Martinez. So Lena, Caitlyn, and I are doing a can drive this year,” Subbiah said. “We’re probably doing the drive at Market Basket and [will] try to collect cans and other non-perishables. We’re planning on standing outside of a store and asking people to buy a can and drop it off.”
Subbiah also commented on the various ways students at WHS are able to give back to charity.
“Even just donating food for those shelters on Thanksgiving [is helpful] because they always get a rush of people around [this] time,” she said.
Volunteering does not need to be restricted to Thanksgiving, and Subbiah encouraged students to look for more opportunities to give back.
“It can be during Halloween or Christmas. There are so many organizations out there that you can volunteer for,” she said.
More than just hours that get logged into a resume, volunteering is an experience that teaches many about community outreach and helping the lives of others. Especially during the season of Thanksgiving, charitable acts are just one way to express one’s thankfulness and spread appreciation throughout the community.