Giving thanks to helping hands


Veronika Cedillo

At Apollo Park on Nov. 22, H.E.L.P.S. room director, Beth Gendreau, sorts cans and goods voluntarily for people in need. Gendreau had a significant amount of work, but enjoyed doing it; she has been in charge for four years and hopes to continue in this capacity.

Serene Gallardo , Community Section Editor

Teachers from Downey High’s English department collaborated with the PTA HELPS room, located in Apollo Park, to put together Thanksgiving baskets, which were then sent out to families with insufficient funds for their own festive dinners. From Mon., Oct 21 to Friday, Nov. 8, donations for the baskets were accepted from students.


Mrs. Hill’s – the English teacher who brought this to campus – mother is a former PTA HELPS room school site coordinator who is acquainted with the current head of the room. He knows her daughter is a high school teacher, and so, called for her help in collecting donations – which she gladly provided. She turned to fellow English teacher Ms. Kasner to assist in gathering canned foods and the like, in hopes that more baskets would be assembled in time for distribution.


“We plan on distributing baskets to around 300-350 families,” Hill said.


Though ASB is conducting its own food drive this month, it does not correlate with the upcoming holiday; given its deadline, the goods won’t be distributed in time for Thanksgiving.


“My understanding is that the ASB food drive isn’t going to get to the families in time for Thanksgiving,” Kasner said. “We wanted the families to benefit from this sort of thing in time for the holiday.”


This event is more involved with the PTA HELPS room than anything; however, it is rare that something like this isn’t directly linked with the school’s ASB. Nonetheless, it still manages to positively impact families within the community.


“Families are poor, and when it comes to holidays, they can’t have a fully enjoyable time without the food,” Caroyln Aguilar, a student in Kasner’s 5th period Honors 10 class, said.


The city of Downey may be perceived as affluent, but many residing families still struggle to put food on the table in time for the holidays. It is little things like this, however, that gradually pick them up and set them off on a better foot.