Covanta Helps Brings Tradition to J.G. Whittier School’s First Thanksgiving Feast

John Greenleaf Whittier School’s “First Annual Thanksgiving Feast Celebration” served an estimated 400 people a traditional Thanksgiving meal in 2019. (Courtesy photograph.)

More than 200 families celebrated a free family Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday night at John Greenleaf Whittier School in Haverhill.

As WHAV previously reported, the First Annual Thanksgiving Feast Celebration was intended “as a means to reach out to the families in our community who would otherwise not enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.” However, when Covanta’ Market Area Manager Mark Van Weelden learned the school’s kitchen and the committee’s budget could not accommodate a full turkey dinner, he wouldn’t hear of it.

Instead of the planned turkey pot pies, Van Weelden told teacher Barbara Greenwood he would find a solution.

Covanta contacted Boston Market in Lawrence and, eventually, the company’s regional catering coordinator. “Boston Market made special arrangements, allowing for an order for trays of turkey, chicken, gravy and all the plates, napkins and silverware to serve up to 400 people,” Van Weelden said.

Even better, Covanta surprised Greenwood and volunteers by paying for the order just prior to its scheduled delivery Thursday night. Haverhill’s Chicken Connection and others also made generous donations for the event. Van Weelden thanked Greenwood for bringing the dilemma to his attention.

“Volunteers like Ms. Greenwood deserve all the credit and help we can give.  It is these quiet volunteers that truly make our community strong by their unyielding dedication every day.” Van Weelden said.

Over the course of the night, an estimated 400 students and family members attended the event.

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