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Give the gift of a frozen turkey

On Wednesday, Dec. 6 and Thursday, Dec. 7, students at Forest Hills Elementary, Lake Oswego Junior High and Lake Oswego High schools will be on hand to eagerly accept donations of frozen turkeys to be delivered to the Oregon Food Bank in time for the holidays. Through the generosity of Lake Oswego families and friends, last year students at these three schools collected more than 5,000 pounds of turkey (or checks/cash used to purchase turkeys). This year will be the fifth annual Turkey Drive and with the generous support of Lake Oswego families and friends, the students hope to exceed last year's donations.

The Turkey Drive was started several years ago by a little girl at Forest Hills Elementary School (who has since moved out of town). She and her mother sat in front of the school (as parents dropped off their students) holding a sign requesting donations of turkeys to help feed families in need. The turkey drive continued for a couple of years, until she moved. The tradition was later rekindled, beginning first at Forest Hills, then expanding to include Lake Oswego Junior High and ultimately also including Lake Oswego High School.

At Forest Hills, the Turkey Drive is being organized by the fifth grade Girls Scout Troop 1080. At the junior high, the eighth grade Laker football players will be leading the charge. And at the high school, students from the Laker football, boys soccer, girls basketball and Laker Dancers, cheerleaders and Leadership class will all be participating in the drive.

Donations will be eagerly accepted at Forest Hills and LOJ both before and after school. At the high school, donations will be accepted before school (early and late arrival).

In addition to the many students who help organize the drive, special recognition is deserved by school staff and administrators, Gwen Hill (Forest Hills), Ann Gerson (LOJ), and Bruce Plato (LOHS), the many coaches who enthusiasticly endorse the students' efforts each year, and also Safeway on A Avenue for donating freezer space for temporary storage of the turkeys prior to delivery to the Oregon Food Bank.

I am forever in awe of the amazing things our young people do in this community and for the generosity of Lake Oswego families supporting them in their efforts to help others. It has been a wonderful experience watching this annual tradition evolve and grow, starting from one caring child and her mother collecting several turkeys to the participation of well over 100 students at three schools, last year collecting more than 5,000 pounds of turkey. It shows with a little bit of organization, and with the simple task of asking, people in this community very generously open their hearts and wallets to help others. Please mark your calendars for (next) Wednesday and Thursday, and remember to support the students in their efforts to provide a festive meal to the many families who can use a little extra help this holiday season.

Evie Fuson is a resident of Lake Oswego.