On Tuesday the entire Bridgehampton School District met in the gymnasium to share a Christmas Feast together. As the younger children continued to learn in their classrooms, some of the older students were in the gym setting up tables with place settings, balloons and hot food.
Three years ago, the student council of the Bridgehampton School District came up with the idea of hosting an annual feast as a way to give something back to the community during the holiday season. The feast has become a tradition at the school and in the past students raised the money to finance the feast themselves.
“It started as a way for the school to celebrate each other and to give back to the community,” said principal Jack Pryor.
But this year, because of shortfalls everywhere from the current economic climate, it almost didn’t happen.
“We used to have different fundraisers for student council,” Pryor added. “But this year, we didn’t have the money.”
Mary Johnsen, a teacher at the school, said that thankfully, parents and community members began to step forward to offer their help in donating plates, cups and other items to provide the students with all the materials they needed to assemble a complete Christmas dinner — during lunch time.
Ava Mack, community liaison, was in charge of organizing the serving of the food, while some school staff members and ladies in the communityÂ helped out. Mack was able to get a break in food costs from Cromer’s Country Market in Noyac.
Once the feast began, seniors in the school dished out the food to the younger students in pre-k and kindergarten before getting their own meals.
Although there seemed to be a lot more families in desperate need this holiday season due to the struggling economy, there have always been people in the community who need help, and those willing to give it. The feast isn’t the only way students at Bridgehampton School give back during the holidays. This was also the third year that the school has organized a “giving tree” with the Bridgehampton National Bank so that members of the community could purchase Christmas gifts for community children in need. Donors who took part dropped presents off at the school and the older students helped to organize and wrap all the gifts, which were distributed to the families.
“We began to raise money and through the giving tree were able to get gifts. The people in the community were so supportive,” said John Riley, a feast organizer and Bridgehampton teacher. “We were able to raise $700 for needy families and we were able to give to the needy children.”
Even the feathered residents of Bridgehampton are not forgotten at this time of year. After their holiday feast, the students went outside where the younger kids hung their edible ornaments — made out of birdseed — on a tree.