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Chicago Students Cook Thanksgiving Meals to Bless 350 Senior Citizens, 'Bring People Together'

Thanksgiving Turkey

Students at a Chicago high school are hard at work prepping Thanksgiving meals for senior citizens who otherwise would not be celebrating the holiday.

Juniors and seniors who attend Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences have been busy preparing turkeys, sides, and desserts for more than 350 seniors in the surrounding area. 

It's the school's tenth year in assisting the community and the first-year time since the start of the pandemic that students are able to cook.

"During this season of giving thanks, we want to bring people together. So we're excited to get people back in the gym this year," 19th Ward Alderman Matt O'Shea told WLS-TV.

The students received instruction from a professional chef and have the privilege of cooking food that they have cultivated.

The school owns the only farm in the city of Chicago and students help grow each vegetable and even raised the turkeys.

"We used to see them alive and walking around and now we're cooking them. It was kind of weird doing that, but it's kind of like the circle of life. It happens all the time," said Anika Dooley, a student.

Student Anaya Mackey told the outlet about all the hard work that goes into preparing a meal for the large number of guests invited to come to the school to enjoy the meal.

"We have to sauté the vegetables and steam them," Mackey said. "Brine the turkeys, butter the turkeys, season the turkeys. We have sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce."

The biggest payoff for the students is watching their guests enjoy a home-cooked meal.

"I can't tell you how many times I hear a senior say, 'When I was in high school...' or ask them questions. The interaction between the seniors and our students is what I think it's all about," Principal William Hook said.

Chef Burgos said the students have a passion for cooking and making new connections with the older generation.

"They're doing a great job. You can tell they have a passion for it," Burgos said.

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