Lincoln Academy residential students helping the Ecumenical Food Bank build Thanksgiving baskets for local towns.

Faces were masked and hands were busy at the annual Thanksgiving Basket drive hosted by Ecumenical Food Pantry this year. Nine Lincoln Academy volunteers including international students from China, Brazil, Spain, and Italy joined with food pantry volunteers to put together and distribute fixings for 265 Thanksgiving dinners across Lincoln County. The packing and distribution took place over two days and included weighing and packaging bulk items, loading and unloading turkeys, counting and sorting produce, and coordinating hand-offs to volunteers who made the deliveries.

“It’s a big effort to pull this off every year, but so worth it,” said Jake Abbott, Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life at Lincoln Academy. “So many people, businesses, and nonprofits come together to make this possible. It’s been a wonderful project for our students because they get to work alongside volunteers from all parts of our community.”

This year’s boxes were generously stocked with donations from local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. Each box contained a turkey, canned corn, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, a box of stuffing, canned pumpkin with crust mix, onions, carrots, squash, potatoes, and apples. Along with food donations, recipient households received information about fuel and home repair assistance programs offered by the nonprofit organization Community Housing Improvement Program (CHiP). Newcastle boxes also came with a smoke detector and best practices for where to place detectors in homes, compliments of the Newcastle Fire Company.