Thanks to donations from community members, teachers at Roanoke’s Hurt Park Elementary School each received a complete Thanksgiving dinner to enjoy on Thursday.
Teachers we spoke with at Hurt Park Elementary School said they don’t expect anything in return for teaching their students.
“I love to see little eyeballs light up when they realize that they’ve gotten something or they’ve done something right, so that’s all I need,” said Noelle Shelton, a special education teacher at Hurt Park Elementary School.
But people in the community gave thanks to teachers in a special way on Monday, providing each one with a complete Thanksgiving dinner.
“They don’t get paid very well, and they work with our young children, and that’s our hope for the future,” said Jim Crawford of the Mountain View Neighborhood Association.
Several groups on the West End teamed up to help provide meals to the teachers, Crawford said. They got the word out over the phone and on social media, raising $1,300 dollars to pay for the meals, he added.
Donations came in from all over the country, as far away as Texas, Crawford said.
“We want this to be the opening introduction of us to the teachers, and then we’ll find out what we can do to help,” he said.
This kicks off the We Love Roanoke City Teachers initiative, Crawford said. The idea is to encourage other neighborhoods and organizations to show similar acts of kindness and appreciation toward their local teachers, he explained.
“If we can do it, everybody can do it really,” Crawford said. “It just takes some heart, and everybody has the heart towards the teachers.”
“It makes us feel that we are reaching the community as well as our students,” Shelton said.
Students from the West End Center also drew designs on each Thanksgiving dinner box to show their appreciation, Crawford said.
Organizers distributed more than 40 meals at Hurt Park Elementary, he added.