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CREC Two Rivers High School Students Raise Funds, Serve Community Meals at Hartford Church

Seeing people in need motivates Two Rivers Magnet High School sophomore Elaine Jackson to give back. When she learned of an opportunity to volunteer through her school at a local soup kitchen, she didn’t hesitate to sign up.
“With opportunities like these, you have to grasp them,” said Elaine, 16, of Hartford. “I like helping people. I have a passion for that.”
Elaine was among nine Two Rivers High School students who raised more than $600 in one day in April for the Community Meals at Christ Cathedral Church in downtown Hartford. The money was used to purchase care packages and meals, which the student volunteers, including Elaine, recently prepared and served.
Terri Olson, the Community Service Program Coordinator at Two Rivers, organized the event with Hands on Hartford, a social service nonprofit organization that manages the community meals at Christ Cathedral Church. She also recruited students to brainstorm ideas for fundraisers.
They decided to host a “Dress Down Day.” Students donated $3 and got to wear casual attire instead of their school uniforms. Staff also participated by donating $5.
“It makes me feel good to have these students take time out of their busy schedules to help others,” said Olson.
Sophomore Ninoshka Mendez, 16, volunteered to collect donations at the school entrance as students arrived for school in the morning. With the money raised the students were able to purchase enough food to serve dinner to 120 people.
The student volunteers prepared and served a dinner of chicken thighs, baked beans, pasta salad, juice and cookies and cupcakes for dessert. Leftover funds were spent on 24 care packages – tie bags containing a bottle of water, toothpaste and toothbrush, a comb, bar of soap and lip balm.
“It’s a good experience because we get to do something we haven’t done before,” said Mendez.
This is one of several projects that the students have participated in this year. They also volunteered to set up and to work the registration table for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer at Bushnell Park in October, helped with a luncheon in November and volunteered at open houses at CREC Two Rivers High School.

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