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Jewish Academy Brings Thanksgiving Fixings to Local Preschool

San Diego Jewish Academy has brought holiday food, warm clothes and mentoring to VIP Village Preschool in Imperial Beach for more than decade.

Updated 8:58 a.m. Nov. 16.

One year, said VIP VIllage Preschool Director John Sheppard, a mother left the school's Thanksgiving give away crying.

"She said 'I wasn't going to tell him about Thanksgiving,'" Sheppard said the mother told him. "'We were just going to treat it like another day.'"

On Thursday about 50 San Diego Jewish Academy students, mainly 2nd graders but also middle and high school students, traveled to VIP Village in Imperial Beach to hand out food to about 250 local families and continue a tradition to allow others to continue a tradition of Thanksgiving.

The academy has given turkeys and Thanksgiving food to 50 families of VIP Village Preschool students for 11 years, first started by leaders at the two schools, VIP Director Katy Roberson and high school principal Dr. Jeff Davis.

The academy's relationship with the school started with a mentoring program 13 years ago, where older students came down to read to preschoolers and evolved into Thanksgiving meals, said the school's Board of Trustees president Shari Schenk.

"That first my husband brought 200 turkeys down in back of a pickup truck," she said. The process has evolved since then. Now a food drive is held at the school, middle school kids pack the boxes and mostly young students pass out the bags at VIP VIllage.

Thursday was not SDJA 7th grader Sharon Cohen's first trip to VIP Village. She has been to the school in the past to read students a ABC book she made.

"We were packing the boxes the other day at school and bringing in food and making posters," she said "cause it's very important to help others."

Charity at the school is carried on in the spirit of tikkun olam which in Hebrew means repair the world, Schenk said. Last week SDJA students raised $20,000 for victims of Hurricane Sandy, she said.

"We want all of our students to know it's our responsibility as Jewish people to leave the world better than we found it," she said.

Erika Lowery November 16, 2012 at 09:06 PM
This is just the tip of the wonders SDJA is doing for VIP Village. My son has been blessed to have the big buddy program. Having these young people as role models is inspiring. Thank you.
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