Panther Jessika Hall has been burdened with worry by the increasing amount of homelessness in the area, but has decided to act on her empathy. On Thanksgiving, the senior will be cooking a feast at home and serving it at the Scioto County Homeless Shelter for any of its occupants to feast on.
She and her mother, Amy Hall, have been raising money to afford the meal through an online campaign, as well as a raffle at her school.
“I will be cooking the food at my home and delivering it to the Homeless Shelter to serve them,” Hall explained.
Hall also claimed that she is looking into a similar project for Christmas, and hopes her Thanksgiving feast will light up an otherwise gloomy day for a group of people who have nothing.
“I want to help someone who doesn’t get a lot,” Hall said. “I think everyone should have the chance to have food, clothing, and all of that stuff. This is just one way to help.”
The work isn’t for a National Honor Society requirement, and Hall explained that she has had no problem finding opportunities to earn her school’s senior volunteer hour commitment. According to Hall, she started this campaign for her peers to earn service hours and for the less fortunate victims of poverty.
Principal Todd Warnock says he is proud of the young Panther, as he is when hears any good story about a student. It isn’t rare to hear about Clay students involving themselves in issues that they are passionate about, and Warnock believes it is a part of the school’s educational upbringing.
“We try to encourage our kids to be involved in community service, so each is required to complete 12 hours,” Warnock explained. “What we’ve seen in some kids, is that they become passionate about a cause and they don’t stop helping; I think we’ve found this is Jessika. True leaders are those who serve others. It is just great to see this quality in Jessika and all of the other kids who do it.”
Hall said she continues to raise funds for the dinners, through a raffle that includes many gift cards and movie passes, which are available by contacting her mother through Facebook. They are charging three entries for $1 and will name a winner on December 14.
“I’m proud of Jess,” Amy Hall said. “She is always wanting to help the homeless. She often makes me get food at a drive-thru and take it to someone on the street. I am proud of her for taking this passion one step further.”
The Hall family will be serving the food Jessika prepares on Thanksgiving at noon.
“This is a big step for Jessika, because these people are depending on her 100 percent to have a Thanksgiving,” Scioto County Homeless Shelter Director Maureen Cadogan said. “She is providing a blessing to these residents and they are excited. There is always a bit of nervousness and anxiety this time of year, because they are not in a home for the holidays, but, because of people like her, the shelter becomes a home. The folks here will be able to have food to munch on, from the pie to the sides, come Thanksgiving, because of this young lady and her support.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.