Thankful and Grateful for the Hicksville Community

Thankful and Grateful for the Hicksville Community
Posted on 11/22/2021

Our local media have been reminding us that Food Insecurity is still a problem, but not one without a solution.  The students of Hicksville Public Schools worked hard this Thanksgiving season to support close to 100 needy neighbors so they could have a happier holiday.  Once again, Hicksville Public Schools under the leadership of Efthymia Rafaelides, K-12 Guidance Supervisor, partnered with the Hicksville Council of PTAs, Children’s Hope India and Kiwanis of Hicksville to sponsor their annual food drive to help feed local families in need.  Social media campaigns and districtwide communication occurred to ask for donations of non-perishable items so baskets could be made for families to take home this holiday season.  The very generous donations of our Hicksville families allowed the Hicksville Public School to create over 150 boxes to be given to 93 families. Families were able to pick up their boxes full of food by Monday, November 22nd so each family had time to prepare their own Thanksgiving dinner. 

Students and their families participated across the school district.  At each of the schools, the food collection was supervised by the Hicksville Council of PTAs and Erin Guida, President of PTA Council.  At Hicksville Middle School, the Student Council under the supervision of Student Council Facilitators, Amanda Dellacone, Guidance Counselor, Mike Rivera, Guidance Counselor, and Catherine Dambrose, Social Worker, and their students collected the food. The collection of food at Hicksville High School was coordinated by the Key Club faculty advisors, Alexa Okon and Jacqueline Bizelia, and the Key Club student members. The Key Club is Kiwanis International Club’s organization within the high school.   Additionally, the community-based organization Children’s Hope India under the leadership of Board of Education Secretary and member of the Children’s Hope India, Sunita Manjrekar, donated food for the drive.  Dr. Edward Saueracker, President of the Kiwanis International Club of Hicksville, and Diane Brousseau of Kiwanis Club of Hicksville were other key members in supporting this endeavor.    In the words of community leader, Dr. Saueracker, “team work made the dream of a happy thanksgiving work!”

The food collection was only the beginning of this massive service project. After collection, the food needed to be sorted and boxed for distribution.  Thanks to the hard work of the Hicksville Middle School vocational program students and their teacher, Justin Halcrow, and the Hicksville High School vocational students and their teacher, Helene Mendoza, all food was prepared and packaged for families in need seamlessly.  Children’s Hope India and the Kiwanis International Club of Hicksville, Inc. contributed gift cards totaling $5,500 to supplement the food boxes for each family to support the efforts of the district students and help our neighbors in need.  

For the distribution of food baskets, the students of Hicksville Public Schools once again came to the rescue.  Families came to the high school for pickup of boxes, and the Key Club and Children’s Hope India loaded each car. Key Club Advisors, Jackie Okun and Rexa Bizelia, assisted District Social Worker, Nubia Rodriguez in partnership to make sure the distribution went smoothly. The distribution of some boxes to a few families who were unavailable to pick up would not have been possible without the assistance of Dave Bell, Director of Facilities and District Operations and the entire Hicksville Public Schools facilities staff as they transported food between buildings and delivered the food boxes to homes for those that needed it.

The Food Drive was truly a team effort.  The building principals, school staff and teachers, as well as the central administration, all are recognized for their support of this community partnership service project.  Special recognition must also be given to all the social workers, psychologist, counselors, nurses, and facility crew that assisted with this wonderful community effort.  Kiwanis International Club of Hicksville leader, Dr. Edward Saueracker, shared, “team work can make the dream work”. Thank you to all those families who donated to brighten the day of their neighbors. This effort could not have been possible without the support of the entire community through their efforts of coordination of this event to the donations of food collected.  It is truly a season to be thankful and grateful for the giving community we have in Hicksville.  

Food Drive

 The promotional flyer from the Hicksville Public Schools Food Drive, which is sponsored in partnership with the Hicksville Council of PTAs, Children’s India of Hope and Kiwanis of Hicksville.

Food Drive

 The Key Club was accompanied by Sunita Manjrekar, BOE Secretary and member of Children's Hope India, Dr Edward Saueracker, President of the Kiwanis Club of Hicksville, and Effie Rafaelides, Supervisor of K-12 Guidance Services.

Food Drive

 Guidance Counselors and Student Council Faculty Advisors, Amanda Dellacone and Mike Rivera, and Teacher, Justine Halcrow and her middle school students in the vocational program worked hard to sort food and package baskets for families in need.

Food Drive

 Teacher, Justine Halcrow, and her middle school students in the Vocational program worked hard to sort food and package baskets for families in need.

Food Drive

 Special Education Teacher, Helene Mendoza, and her high school students in the Vocational program worked hard to sort food and package baskets for families in need.