Podcast: John Greenleaf Whittier School to Feed Thanksgiving Dinners to 150 Families

From left, Covanta Haverhill Facility Manager Bill Zaneski, Covanta Area Asset Manager Mark Van Weelden, counselor Tiffany Midolo and instructor Barbara Greenwood display gift cards used to purchase Thanksgiving meals. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill’s John Greenleaf Whittier School plans to feed 150 families again this Thanksgiving week despite obstacles created by the coronavirus outbreak.

Whittier middle school Principal Tim Betty said the staff was disappointed there could not be a sit-down turkey dinner again this year, but were inspired by a similar effort by their counterparts at Haverhill High School.

“Covanta and Ocasio Martial Arts studio have donated gift cards to Market Basket to our school. We are able to purchase individually wrapped meals that we are going to deliver to families and also have a drive-through,” he said.

Betty and counselor Tiffany Midolo both appeared on WHAV’s morning program this week. Mideolo said last year the school fed 540 people—with more than 300 in-person at the school.

“We had raffle tickets. We had prizes that we gave out and we were able to feed them through Boston Market thanks to Covanta. It was a really great event and we wanted to continue it this year. Of course, it’s going to look a little different,” she said.

Midolo said this year’s change won’t affect the hearty dinner menu.

“Turkey and chicken. So, we’re going to do both of those and there’s a few sides. It usually comes with stuffing, a vegetable and potatoes with gravy,” she noted.

Betty said the school has always worked with Ocasio’s the last five years to deliver turkeys. This year’s effort takes place with a drive through Tuesday, Nov. 24, from 5-8 p.m., at the school, followed by deliveries Tuesday night and Wednesday.

“We are pleased that would could help again this year, especially this exhausting year!”  said Covanta Facility Manager Bill Zaneski. Company Market Area Asset Manager Mark Van Weelden said Midolo and teacher Barbara Greenwood approached him with their worries the program might not take place.

“I am proud to be part of a company who truly carries about its community and continues to step up when it can.  Especially this year, I can’t thank Barbara and Tiffany enough for keeping the faith and helping others during this trying year,” he said.

The Whittier School family has also donated $550, but the school could still use some help defraying costs. Donations may be made at the school’s JG Whittier Poets Facebook page.

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