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One Teacher’s Mission to Bring Thanksgiving to Every Student

Student thank you note with a turkey drawing and pasted feathers

Teachers are often the first to notice when a student may be struggling in the classroom and at home. And they often step in, whether it’s with a trip to the school clothing closet, a backpack of snacks to get through the weekend, or just that extra show of love and support. 

As 2019 comes to a close, many teachers are already thinking about how their students will — or won’t — experience the holidays.
One special teacher, Ms. Paterson from Detroit, created a DonorsChoose project “Please Help Give THANKSgiving to Detroit Students in Need” to create a dozen complete Thanksgiving dinner baskets to send home with students in need.

In her project essay, Ms. Paterson shares that her students have a diverse set of home lives.

Almost our entire student body has needs of some kind, as we service the entire City of Detroit.

Ms. Paterson’s project, which included items: like disposable aluminum pans, canned vegetables, boxed macaroni and cheese, rice, stuffing, gravy, and muffin mix, was funded in less than 10 days.

One donor commented, “Nothing says Thanksgiving like giving. We should be kind to each other and share what we can. Sending Ms. Paterson and her students warm holiday wishes from Washington Heights, NYC to Detroit.”

Ms. Paterson wrote in her thank you message, “Your kindness will spread to feed over a hundred people, and will truly help to make their season bright! We are so appreciative!”

In an email to DonorsChoose, she added, “The kids who know they are getting a basket are heartwarmingly excited about receiving groceries. They love food, and it’s truly a need; therefore, they get genuinely happy about it. Most are actually pretty overwhelmed when they see it all.”

In the past two and a half years, Ms. Paterson has created 100 DonorsChoose projects and this was her 99th funded one. 

My donors make my job 100x easier to do, and I simply couldn’t do what I do each day without them. They have changed my life and the lives of my students in so many ways.

Inspired by Ms. Paterson’s story? Here are some other Food, Warmth, Care and Hunger projects that might inspire you.

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