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'The smiles warm your heart'

Washington teachers donate meals

Angela Taylor checks off names of those picking up free Thanksgiving meals donated by the Washington Education Association in partnership with Fareway. (Caitlin Yamada/ The Union)
Angela Taylor checks off names of those picking up free Thanksgiving meals donated by the Washington Education Association in partnership with Fareway. (Caitlin Yamada/ The Union)
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WASHINGTON — For 16 years, the Washington Education Association has distributed Thanksgiving dinners to families in the community.

On Tuesday, volunteers handed out 118 packs of Thanksgiving food to families at the back dock of Fareway.

This year was more important than ever with the ongoing pandemic, said Angela Taylor, a resource teacher at the Washington High School and organizer of the event.

Ham, carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, tossed salad, a variety of vegetables, dinner rolls and a no-bake desert are included in the pack.

Normally, the families would be given turkey rolls, but it was not possible to get the number needed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association collects money from school district employees to purchase the meals in partnership with Fareway. The group raised more than $2,500 for the meals this year, Taylor said.

Help is enlisted from the guidance department to identify families throughout the district needing help.

“The smiles warm your heart,” Taylor said. “They’re so happy and grateful.”

The event started because teachers and staff wanted to shine a light on American Education Week (every year in November), which was not widely recognized in the district at that time.

The event was created in honor of the week and support the community.

“The first year was just amazing,” Taylor said. “The outpouring of donations was amazing.”

Every year the organization has raised enough for between 110 and 120 meals.