The annual Thanksgiving basket partnership between Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington and Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. took place Nov. 17.

The students, teachers, staff and Rice community put together baskets of food and decorations for a full Thanksgiving feast for families in need from the Chittenden County area. From turkeys and stuffing to pies and juice, goodies were placed with care in baskets and boxes.

Twenty-six families (77 adults and 74 children) will enjoy a full Thanksgiving dinner thanks to this project.

The families receiving the baskets were inspired by the thoughtful items and handmade accents. “Oh my gosh, so much stuff.  Thank you so much,” one recipient said.

“Thank you; it is so generous of you all,” said another.

The baskets were judged by members of the Vermont Catholic Charities and Diocese of Burlington staff. The judges were inspired and impressed with the creative and overflowing baskets.

The students from the winning basket earned a dress down day.

“We were so pleased to see such high participation from the Rice community in the Thanksgiving food drive.  It was another example of Rice staff, students and their families doing good things for others and we are extremely proud of them.  We look forward to continuing with this tradition for many years to come,” said Andrew Keough, interim principal.

Pamela King, director of Campus Ministry at Rice, commented, “Words cannot express the joy, love and enthusiasm that go into this beautiful endeavor. Seeing teachers and students working together for one common goal has been a true blessing. My heart overflows!”

Mary Beth Pinard, executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities, said, “We are grateful to the Rice community for their continued generosity and support of this Thanksgiving program.  This outpouring of compassion for others is inspiring.”