Students Help Families at Thanksgiving

(November 2016) More than 1,730 families will have meals on Thanksgiving due to the efforts of Wexford Elementary School and PNC Bank. PTO members, parents, administrators, teachers/staff, students and community members helped raised more than $12,986 at Wexford Elementary. PNC Bank matched the funds and to raise the total to a whopping $25,972 for the KDKA Turkey Fund this year.

“Each year, we look forward to helping our neighbors in need, teaching our children about generosity, and reinforcing the value of reading every year,” said Wexford Elementary School Principal Rick Walsh. “This is a project that has students learning inside and outside the classroom. Not only are they reading, but they are participating in an outreach project.”

The fund has been providing families in need in the area with turkey dinners on Thanksgiving for more than 20 years. Wexford Elementary School has been raising money for 12 years and raised a little more than $200,000 with the help from PNC Bank and National City Bank.

Wexford kicked off the program on Nov. 4, 2016 and wrapped it up on Nov. 18, 2016.  The concept is simple, students are challenged to read as many books as they can during the school year and encourage their family members, friends and neighbors to sponsor them.

 KDKA Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla PNC Bank Representative David Lichina, and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Maggie Beldecos were on hand at the kick off and wrap up program.

All of the money collected and donated during the read-a-thon Turkey Fund goes directly to the purchase of food for families in need. Area supermarkets have agreed to provide the food at wholesale cost. 

On average, these Thanksgiving dinners cost $15 each.  In Wexford’s 12 years of participation, the school has helped feed more nearly 13,300 families during the holiday seasons.

The school hosted a wrap assembly to announce the Read to Feed results. Dr. Walsh thanked Mrs. Elise Scott and Mrs. Shelly Verszyla, who served as committee chairs and took the lead on the project.

First graders Keira Scott and Carson Verszyla and second grader Mason Scott and third grader Alexander Verszyla presented the check to the food bank.

In November, Wexford Elementary invited special guest readers to read to students including the superintendent who shared more about the district mission, vision and values.  Teacher Joanna Firmin treated her students to a special day in which they could wear their pajamas for all of the extra reading they had completed.
See the story of Wexford's participation in the Turkey Fund on KDKA.