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Community partner helps make it a happy Thanksgiving for 100 families

November 19, 2018 - Partners in Education

One hundred families from Oak Park Elementary and Middleton High School are extra thankful this Thanksgiving. They don’t have to worry about how to pay for their holiday meal to feed their families, because of the generosity of our community partner – Jaffe Tilchen Wealth Management.

The Tampa company reached out to our school district in 2011 to see how employees could help families in need around the holidays – and so began the Annual Harvest Day Project in partnership with HCPS Project PROMISE. Now, 8 years later, Jaffe Tilchen Wealth Management has provided Thanksgiving meal kits to 500 families at our highest needs schools.

“They approached us based on our website on Hillsborough County Public Schools, saw Project PROMISE, and wanted to know how they could help. It just came at the perfect time around the holidays to have meals to distribute to families in need,” said Dr. Sherell Wilson, Hillsborough County Public Schools Supervisor of Nontraditional Programs, including Project PROMISE.

To learn more about Project PROMISE:

Project PROMISE (PRograms Offering Mentoring Intervention Services and Educational supports) supports the academic success of at-risk students, but also addresses the needs of students’ families.

“It’s not always academic, so Project PROMISE is really an outreach program that we’ve branded and work with additional partners to touch other needs outside of the Title I Part D Grant,” said Dr. Wilson.

“With our school, we have a high needs school, so the majority of our school is on free/reduced lunch. Being able to alleviate some of that stress for Thanksgiving is going to go a long way to help them out,” said Jordon Hendrieth, Oak Park Elementary School Social Worker.

Jaffe Tilchen Wealth Management employees arrived at Oak Park Elementary with truck-loads of pre-bagged groceries needed for a holiday feast. Superintendent Jeff Eakins joined the volunteers to help hand out the turkeys to families.

“They put together a full meal kit. It includes a full-sized turkey that can feed 6-8 members in the family and all the fixings,” said Dr. Wilson. “To be able to see the families receive their gifts, that’s extra special for us. We love to see that families are able to sit together around the table at the holidays and enjoy a meal without the stress.”

For a split second, Dr. Wilson thought there may not be an 8th Annual Harvest Day – turns out it was the biggest event yet.

“I got a call from Jaffe Tilchin Wealth Management company, and they said, we can’t serve 50… because we can serve 100! They doubled the amount of families they could serve this year. Out of the 100 meals being donated, there will be 30 donated to families at Oak Park Elementary and 70 donated to the families at Middleton High School,” Dr. Wilson said.

Recipients left the schools with a Thanksgiving meal, a smile and a thank you to the volunteers who helped to make their holiday special.

“It’s a blessing. It will help a lot, because I didn’t know where Thanksgiving was coming from. I thank them, thank you all for giving us Thanksgiving,” said Robin Sellers, a mother of 3 students at Oak Park Elementary.

“I’m just elated,” said Dr. Wilson. “It’s an exciting time. Happy Thanksgiving!”

To see the latest events happening at Oak Park Elementary and Middleton High, follow the schools on twitter:

For more information about Oak Park Elementary and Middleton High School:

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