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DLMS students raise money for turkey meals

The flock of turkeys flooding the sixth grade hallway: Each turkey represents a family that was helped during Sixth Grade Gives Back. SUBMITTED PHOTO

A flock of turkeys have flooded the sixth grade hallway of Detroit Lakes Middle School. 

Since October, students have been striving to make a difference. For every $20, a turkey dinner was then purchased by the Becker County Food Pantry. The food shelf will distribute these dinners to area families in need during the holiday season.

Students raised an astonishing $1,596.43. Combined with a generous $500 donation from the Detroit Lakes Lions, the young students contributed a grand total of $2,096.43. That means nearly 105 families will have an enjoyable feast to help them celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Unlike most fundraisers, students were asked to do more than solicit money from neighbors.  Instead, students did community service projects to earn money.

Some kids babysat, sold cookies, did extra work on the farm, and mowed the neighbor’s yard to help out. Other students helped their grandparents in the garden, sold artwork, or donated money from their own allowance.

Besides the traditional reading, writing, and arithmetic, what else have the sixth graders learned this year?

“I learned that everything is not about me. It feels heartwarming to know that I helped out. Because of me and other sixth graders, more people will enjoy Thanksgiving,” said Tanner Alger, 11.

Gracee Traurig, 12, added, “The thought of people who can’t afford food is a big deal to me. I sit at the kitchen table asking for seconds when sometimes they don’t even get firsts. On Thanksgiving every year, I eat too much, and they have empty plates. Now those families will have what they need. I’m glad I helped.”

For some students, the mission was very personal. “I know what it’s like to have no money. When I moved here we were broke for a couple of days, but luckily we have a generous family that helped. It’s nice to help others and donate. It makes a person feel good on the inside, and it made me happier that I could help another family in need.”

We can all learn a lot from these students. As Alexis Van Maldeghem, 11, remarked, “No matter how small you are, you can make a difference!”