Peekskill's Hillcrest School Spreads Thanksgiving Cheer

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Students at Hillcrest Elementary School in Peekskill gathered food for needy families this Thanksgiving. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
The staff at Hillcrest Elementary School participated in gathering and distributing food for Thanksgiving. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – For the second year in a row, students and staff at Hillcrest Elementary School came together to take part in the school’s Helping Hands Thanksgiving basket giveaway.

This year the group, which refers to itself as “the Turkey Team,” successfully delivered more than 40 turkeys, three hams, hundreds of canned goods and much more to selected families of Hillcrest students.

The giveaway was organized by Hillcrest’s Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports Helping Hands Committee, which is chaired by Alisha Williams-McCorvey, the school’s social worker.

“In a me-first society this shows our children how to give,” McCorvey said. “And it also shows how willing they are to give.”

The baskets, which contained everything needed for a Thanksgiving dinner, were stocked with donations from parents, local supermarkets, and Hillcrest’s own staff and administration.

Hillcrest’s newly born student council also contributed to the cause by organizing a canned food drive earlier in the month, which helped fill the baskets, under the guidance of teachers Candis LaFountain and Chris Salumn.

Hillcrest speech pathologist Yvette Bivians helped solicit donations from local businesses and delivered baskets along with Mattie Settembre, a special education teacher at the school. Donations were sorted by library media aide Jerri Reeves and social work interns Kate Ferdinandsen and Melody Peffers.

“This project embodies the Hillcrest spirit of giving,” said Michelle Zernone, Hillcrest’s principal. “We’re walking the walk of a caring community. It’s also a testament about our young people. In an age where you hear about how much young people do wrong, this shows how much they do right.”

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