November 22, 2023


Holland, MI- Students and staff from Ottawa Area ISD buildings collected and distributed items to help students and families in the Ottawa Area enjoy Thanksgiving without a financial burden.


pile of SPS food students with collected fod director delivering boxes

Sheldon Pines School (SPS) packed and delivered boxes to 25 SPS students and their families with everything needed for a Thanksgiving dinner. SPS staff provided the turkeys and employees from around the OAISD contributed side dishes including green beans, gravy, mashed potatoes and more to complete the meals. Homemade pies from CTC Pastry Arts and Baking program rounded out the Thanksgiving meal box.

School Social Worker for SPS, Jamie Pelishek, said they are thankful to everyone across the organization for the generous donations that provide SPS families with a worry-free Thanksgiving dinner. “These Thanksgiving boxes are a huge financial relief to many of our families and allow them to enjoy a special meal together,” Pelishek said. “Having students tell me they are excited to ‘eat until they are stuffed’ instead of being worried about what they will eat is the reason we do this.”

Careerline Tech Center also supports its students and families with Thanksgiving food baskets that contain items made in Tech Center programs. Through creating items for these baskets, students build upon classroom skills and help others at the same time. 

“Creating and assembling the Thanksgiving boxes is a great opportunity for our students to display their talents and their generosity,” Careerline Tech Center Director Kris Doenges, said. “This is one of the many ways CTC gives back to the community throughout the year and is made more special since it directly benefits our Tech Center students and families.”

Each of the 61 Thanksgiving boxes will contain mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, roasted squash and applesauce from the Culinary Arts program. The Pastry Arts and Baking program contributed pies and rolls and a CTC paraprofessional donated squash. The Agriculture and Animals Sciences program provided surplus chickens from a broiler chicken contest to the boxes while the Cosmetology program included a flyer for free haircuts.

Afternoon classes in the CTC Dental Careers and Public Safety and Security Services program also gave back to the community through a friendly competition to collect the most non-perishable items for a local food pantry. Students collected over 2,000 food and health-related items in six days with the Dental Careers students bringing in the most items. 

“The class officers decided to make it a competition with the officer from the losing team getting a pie in the face,” Dental Careers instructor Denise Callaghan, said. “If their donations feed over 50 families both officers will get pied. These students really put the ‘fun’ in fundraiser!”

Sheldon Pines School 

Sheldon Pines School is a service of Ottawa Area ISD that provides Special Education programs and related services to students who are at risk educationally due to emotional impairments or behavioral issues. www.oaisd.org/sheldon-pines

Careerline Tech Center
Operated by Ottawa Area ISD, Careerline Tech Center prepares high school juniors and seniors for tomorrow's workforce by providing career and technical education in more than 25 career areas. CTC serves students from public and private high schools, as well as those who are homeschooled, within the following local school districts: Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Hamilton, Holland, Hudsonville, Jenison, Saugatuck, Spring Lake, West Ottawa, and Zeeland. www.CareerlineTech.org