Pioneer gift baskets help families over holiday break

Pioneer food baskets
Pioneer Community Assistant Taryn Reid started a holiday gift basket program last year, reaching 15 families. This season, food is going to 27 families.

By Tara Cavanaugh

Thanks to the collaboration of staff, parents and students at Pioneer High School, 27 families are getting a small boost over winter break.

They’re picking up bags of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner that will last the next two weeks.

“These kids typically eat their breakfast and lunch here,” said Taryn Reid, a community assistant at Pioneer.  “A lot of times they’re coming to us after school asking for something to eat. Typically I pack extra in my lunch because I know that somebody is going to ask for it.”

Reid stood in a conference room at the school that was piled high with bags full of cereal, bread, salad, fresh fruit and potatoes. “This will relieve a little bit of tension for their parents so that other things can be purchased,” she said. Each family will also get a $25 gift card to Meijer.

The food and gift cards came from many sources. Reid collected $1,300 from the PTSO and the class offices. English teacher Don Packard’s student group Trailblazers donated gift cards. The school sponsored a canned food drive. Counselor Colleen Creal donated gift cards from a recent holiday party –– instead of having her guests bring food or gifts, she asked them to bring a donation for the baskets. And Peace Neighborhood Center helped transport and unload the food after Reid spent two days shopping.

The school-wide support is not lost on the 27 families. “They bring thank you cards, they give hugs,” Reid said. “They just really need it, especially around this time of the year.”

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