The pandemic notwithstanding, Lebanon Middle School’s 25-year-old tradition of providing holiday food baskets for local families will continue.

“In past years, Lebanon Middle School staff members delivered the food baskets to the homes of our students,” 7th-grade school counselor Robin Lerch explained. “This year we are going to have a drive-up food pick-up for the randomly identified families to safely drive or walk to Lebanon Middle School to pick up the food.”

Distribution will be from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. The giveaway is being organized by LMS counselors Lerch, Renee Lamoureux, and Kayce Heck, as well as Community in Schools coordinator Guillermo Barroso, according to Mary A. Harrell, administrative assistant to district superintendent Arthur Abrom.

The program this year has supplied 70 baskets “filled with lots of food from generous community donations,” Lerch said. “Over the years we have had many different agencies that have generously donated to the program.”

Baskets this year include a range of food items, including turkeys, chickens, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rice, milk, oranges, bread, vegetables and hot chocolate with marshmallows, she said.

The giveaway was devised to help alleviate the need of families in Lebanon, especially around the holidays, Lerch explained.

“The counselors work with staff members at Lebanon Middle School to identify families who we feel may benefit from the food,” she said. “We then randomly select families based on the number of baskets for the year.”

Counselors compile a list of families who could benefit from the program, she said.

“We sent messages out to students asking if they could use more support, staff members identified students, and we also publicized in our counseling newsletter asking parents to contact us if they would like to be added to the list,” she explained. “The counselors emailed and called families to notify them about the pick-up date and time.”

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