It's not uncommon for the bleachers at Douglas High athletic events to be packed with members of an ultra-supportive community.
The Thanksgiving season has become a time that the Douglas athletes do their best to give some of that support back.
For the past eight years, Douglas High's Block D letterman's club has taken the two weeks before Thanksgiving to raise money for food to donate to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet.
"It's one way we can give back," Block D president Ally Freitas, who plays soccer and basketball at Douglas, said. "The community is always so supportive of what we do and it's important for us to get involved in giving back."
The 80-member club broke up into groups starting Nov. 7 and went door-to-door around Carson Valley asking for money.
On Friday, about 25 student-athletes gathered at Lira's Market in Minden to spend the almost $5,000 they were able to raise.
With the tough economic conditions around the country, club members weren't sure what kind of response they'd get this year.
"We have a goal we set for ourselves every year," Freitas said. "We weren't sure if we were even going to make our total because of the way the economy is right now.
"We just hit so many houses and people were extremely generous. We ended up with an even better total than what we were able to come up with last year. People were giving us spare change. Everyone was so willing to help out. It was neat to see."
Club adviser Ernie Monfiletto said he is surprised anew every year with the outpouring of donations.
"It really was a scenario where we weren't sure who the response would be like this year," he said. "The community as a whole was so generous. It speaks volumes about the people in Douglas County.
"We've been doing this long enough now to where people kind of anticipate us showing up. It's great that they have faith in the kids to follow through with it. We are so thankful for how people in the community have embraced this event."
The turkey drive, as it's come to be called, has also given the Carson Valley Community Food Closet an annual boost.
"Our clientel at Thanksgiving has tripled since the high school got involved," said Carson Valley Community Food Closet director Eileen Boettiger. "We rely heavily on them. It has really grown and the kids are just so great. It is awesome what they do."
At Lira's, club members once again broke into groups and were given specific budgets to spend on either dried foods, canned foods or non-perishables. They also purchased 105 turkeys.
"This is our third year at Lira's," Monfiletto said. "They have been very generous to us as well and we are happy to support local businesses."
After loading the goods into trucks, they delivered them to the Food Closet.
The final totals were 684 pounds of turkey, 1,278 pounds of miscellaneous food, 72 pounds of paper products and 157 pounds of personal items.
As a club, Block D is geared to promoting scholar athletes, Monfiletto said. They seek to fulfill four basic pillars, which are community service, school pride, sportsmanship and leadership.
The turkey drive and the end-of-the-year Mountain Madness (which includes the annual Powder Puff football game) have become the club's hallmark events.
They'll also be making their biennial trip up the mountain to paint the "D" above Wally's Hot Springs in May.
"We're hoping to find someone who will volunteer to fly the paint up there," Monfiletto said. "We'll climb the mountain and paint it. It's another one of our big things."
Anyone interested in donating to the Block D club can contact Monfiletto at 782-5136.
The Food Closet is still accepting donations, although Boettiger said their Thanksgiving orders have been filled. They will, however, be working toward filling order for Christmas. It is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and Fridays at 1255 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville. Call 782-3711 for more information.
Some pavement-pounding and a generous community translates into:
684 pounds turkey
1,278 pounds miscellaneous food
72 pounds paper products
157 pounds personal items