Baskets brimming with turkey, veggies, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, butter and pumpkin pie will go to the homes of all Summit Academy Secondary School – Youngstown students as well as to many families from Summit Academy – Youngstown Elementary. The Thanksgiving holiday 

Summit Academy Secondary School – Youngstown educators assemble Thanksgiving Day baskets filled with food for school families. Donations from school staff, local residents, businesses and organizations poured in to make the holiday meals possible. Pictured from left to right: School Culture Coordinator Greta Glenellen, Administrative Assistant Audrianna Phillips and Principal Ashley Martin.

goodness comes from generous school employees, community members and local businesses and organizations who answered a request on social media. Youngstown Secondary School Administrative Assistant Audrianna Phillips posted a Facebook plea for donations of $35, enough to assemble a Thanksgiving Day dinner basket for one family. Within 24 hours of her post, more than $3,000 funneled in.

“I was brought to tears by the amount of support we have received from staff, friends, family and local businesses,” says Phillips, whose highest hope was to raise enough money to put together 10 baskets for school families most in need. “To imagine we are already at more than 100 baskets is unbelievable.”

Summit Academy Secondary School – Youngstown 10th grade student Candice Washington (left) and her mother, Pamela Washington, graciously accept a Thanksgiving meal basket.

With COVID-19 safety concerns, Youngstown Secondary could not host its annual Thanksgiving meal for school families. The event traditionally brings together the school community for a meal prepared by staff members. It’s a time for local families to enjoy fellowship as they gather for a Thanksgiving dinner many cannot afford. The alternative mission to provide Thanksgiving baskets to individual families shed light on the giving nature of the local community.

“It’s uplifting, everybody coming together to make this happen,” says Principal Ashley Martin, referring to the spirit of kindness in the Youngstown community. “Many who are giving are not in a place where giving is easy for them [due to limited personal means].”

Summit Academy Secondary School – Youngstown staff members prepare Thanksgiving Day baskets for school families.

Among a growing list of donors, local businesses and organizations that have contributed toward the meals include: The Social Studio, Fusillo Tile and Stone, Rainbow International of Youngstown, Clayton Heating and Air Conditioning, Yanni Custom Furniture and Upholstery, Village Network, E.J. Hannah Style Boutique, Lyra Salon, Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt, Homestead Kitchen and Cocktails, Elenis Contracting, APBN, Inc. and Rondinelli Tuxedo and Alterations Express. Donations have ranged anywhere from $10 from individuals to up to $525, enough to supply 15 families with Thanksgiving dinners. Answering an unexpected need, DiNiro Quality Foods and the Red Cross are providing freezer space to store the abundance of turkeys for families until Thanksgiving time nears, Phillips says.

“I am speechless and full of gratitude,” Phillips says. “It has made me appreciate the people in this community and how quickly they jumped to help our kids.”

Those interested in supporting the effort can call the Shady Run Road school at 234-229-8235.