Community boosts Block D turkey drive
In 11 years, the annual Turkey Drive conducted by Douglas High School’s Block D Letterman’s Club has come full circle.
It started simply as one way for the club, which is open to varsity letter winners in any sport or club at the high school, to give back to the community.
The idea, at the time, was to support the club’s four pillars – community service, leadership, positive role models and sportsmanship – while helping out families in need by providing Thanksgiving dinners to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet.
Over time, though, the drive has become part of the holiday fabric of Carson Valley.
“People start calling us in late October asking us when the kids will be out,” Block D advisor Ernie Monfiletto said. “I don’t think we could stop it if we tried. It’s become something that is very important to the community.”
Especially in tough economic times.
In recent years, Block D members have noted an understandable drop off in donations due to tight budgets around the Valley. This year, as some have fallen on better times, the club said people have gone out of their way to support the project.
“People really responded to it this year,” senior club officer Steven Werth said. “People who haven’t participated before will ask what the money is going toward, kind of skeptical of why we’re there.
“But once we explain it, once they know the money is going to families in need during this time of year, they are more than willing to donate.”
Senior officer Bri Randall agreed.
“One man gave $250 when we told him what it was for,” Randall said. “It was very generous of him.”
The community as a whole rallied around the project and Block D collected $5,200 – up from $3,800 last year.
Last Wednesday, the club put that money into play at Scolari’s Food & Drug, buying enough food to fill two full aisles in the Carson Valley Food Closet facility along with donating 150 Thanksgiving turkeys.
“The food closet told us they were going to donate 500 turkeys this year,” Monfiletto said. “That’s 500 families in the Valley in need. I was astonished the number is that high. It puts things in perspective.”
Club members attributed part of the success of this year’s drive to the fundraiser’s growing reputation.
“It makes a huge difference that people know we’re going to be coming around,” said club officer Trevor Shaffer. “It makes you proud to be a part of something so established, that people already know what it is you’re trying to do.
“You also feel a responsibility to keep up with the years prior. You don’t want to be the group that can’t get it done and can’t help provide this aid for the community.”
The club actually met its fundraising cap this year due to the outpouring of support.
“We do cut the kids off once their groups reach $500,” Monfiletto said. “People will call and ask where the kids are and we say if the kids didn’t make it to your house, they probably already met their goals.
“We don’t want to ask for more than is necessary to do this project. This community gives a lot as it is and there are a lot of groups out there trying to do great things who also need money. We just don’t want to over step. We’re very thankful to the community for their continued support of this project.”
Randall said the club takes pride in the annual drive.
“We’re honored and humbled that people are willing to give us their money just to help out others,” she said. “It feels great to be able to have an impact on the community as members of Block D. It’s just a good feeling to be able to give back considering the amount of support the community gives us already on the field.”
Monfiletto said he’s just happy the club can play a part during the holiday season.
“One of our biggest goals is just providing a positive image of the student-athletes at this school,” he said. “You hope they walk the walk, and these kids are doing that.
“But they are just one of many groups on campus that reach out to the community like this. If everyone does their part, it makes it easier for the community, it shows what the students at this school are capable of and it makes this a better place to live in general.”