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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new school is planting their roots in a community that needs it while also spreading holiday cheer.
The students at the new Deep Roots Charter School in Kensington have a lot to be thankful for this year.
“I’m thankful for my mom,” said Damian, a student.
Another girl, Logan, had a list: “My sister Brooke, Mommy, Daddy, my dog, Trouble, and my cat, Celeste,” she said.
On this day, the children were getting ready for the school’s first Harvest Meal.
“The Harvest Meal is where almost everyone gathers, and we have some food and all the decorations,” student Dominessa Gonzalez said.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of food. I think it’s going to be surprising,” said student Kiani Colon.
The teachers and staff planned to host a Thanksgiving meal for free for the community.
“We are in Kensington, and this area could use a little bit of love,” said Kileeo Wideman, assistant dean of students.
The idea of hosting this meal came just one month earlier, in October.
“By the time we were done conversing, the teachers had raised a thousand dollars,” Kileeo said. “They went online, they posted videos on Facebook, they put posts on Instagram.”
In a matter of two weeks, the teachers had raised over $3,000, enough money to host a free meal for 300 guests.
“As a teacher, as someone in the community what was is like fundraising for the Harvest Meal?” Chandler Lutz asked teacher Emily Serkees.
“It was very fulfilling. People I don’t even know, people I went to high school with, everyone was so willing to share and donate their money, because they knew it was for our family and for our students,” Emily said.
And the event was more than organizers could ever have expected.
“So being around these students every day, what was it like seeing them here enjoying Thanksgiving with their families?” Chandler Lutz asked.
“Everywhere I looked, I saw people genuinely happy,” Kileeo said. “I saw smiling faces, I saw full bellies. The neighbors that live on this block started coming in and getting plates of food and telling us how thankful and grateful they were that the school is in this community. So we probably served close to 300 people by the end of the night.”
This Thanksgiving, we give 3 Cheers to those at Deep Roots Charter School who made it their mission to feed their families and community this holiday season.
“Think you’ll do it again?” Chandler asked Kileeo.
“Oh yes!” he said. “This is the first annual. This is the beginning of many more.”