Key Club Kicks Off Year With Turkey Drive

     Each year, the Key Club collects and donates hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to families in Greater Portland. In partnership with various organizations, the food that we collect as a school is organized by the club and distributed by students, staff, and the many organizations to families in need. This year, like all others, the Turkey Drive was a success. Despite being low on donations with only a few days remaining, the students were able to rally and bring in enough turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and carrots, among many other items, filling 300 boxes with Thanksgiving meals. Starting at the beginning of the school year, planning was in motion to ensure the Turkey Drive ran smoothly and that the school would meet the needs of the community. Throughout the month of November, days went by as the school and Key Club inched closer to their goal. Dr. Moran stood out in the front of the school each morning collecting Turkeys in his turkey suit, students brought canned and boxed goods into the atrium, and the food got organized after school in the indoor track as counts were maintained to figure out which class was ahead in their collection. By the time the day of the Turkey Drive came around, the boxes were ready, along with the remaining food waiting to be packed. That morning, during the Interfaith Service, the school community recognized the club’s efforts, as well as the issue of world hunger, with a presentation and reflection by club president Lydia Neidermeyer, sending the club off to culminate their work with the distribution of meals. 


     Key Club is Cheverus’s largest and most established club, boasting a total of around 100 members encompassing all four grades. With that comes a reputation and yearly commitment. Many people have come to rely on the Turkey Drive each year, unable to provide for a Thanksgiving meal. These people could be someone you’ve never met, a friend of yours, or even your neighbor. Given all of this, running the Turkey Drive is not an easy task, but someone has to take charge. This year, that person was Lydia Neidermeyer, the club’s president. Elected last Spring, Lydia is definitely not the first to fill the role. We asked her how it feels leading the Turkey Drive after so many before her. She said “Leading the Turkey Drive after so many others is a little daunting...There are a lot of expectations and a lot of people that are depending on these boxes to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving.” While orchestrating the Turkey Drive is not easy, it is a very rewarding experience for those leading it, as well as those participating. Many students that have come through Cheverus have memories of participating in the drive, and it is something you always look back on. It is also not an event that goes unnoticed. The Drive has a huge impact on many in our community, and in past years local news outlets have been drawn to campus to report on the Key Club’s efforts. When asked about how rewarding the Turkey Drive has been for her, Lydia responded, saying “The most rewarding part of the Turkey Drive is when the various organizations come to the school to pick up their boxes, and if you have the chance to speak with some of these people they will tell you who the meals will go to. It is most rewarding to hear about and to see the impact our small food drive has on the community around us.” Lydia also said “It often makes me think about what I take for granted and encourages me to do more to serve others. This experience is not only very rewarding for many, but fulfills Cheverus’s mission of “preparing young men and women to be people for and with others.”

     Going forward, the club hopes to continue its efforts to serve the community each Thanksgiving, a goal that is shared by Lydia. “I think that this year's Turkey drive was a success, but I am hoping that the Key Club and the Cheverus community can continue in service to others. With the Turkey Drive, I hope that the Key Club can complete a larger number of boxes, creating a bigger impact within the community.” The club does not stop here - it will continue with more community service efforts throughout the year as it strives to make a difference in our community.

Danny McCartney