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Yough students step it up for Turkey Cup

| Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 7:41 p.m.
Hitting the track, about 600 of the 700 students at Yough Middle School took part in the Turkey Trot to raise money for the Westmoreland County Food Bank.
A turkey named Todd was brought to the event, and students paid $1 to have the turkey kissed by a faculty member. From left are Abby Long, 10, Elizabeth Blake, 10, Kylie Robuck, 11, and Aaron Wilson, 11.

This event is for the birds.

With an outpouring of compassion and caring, about 600 students from the Yough Intermediate Middle School took part in the annual Turkey Cup Challenge that is held every fall.

“This is a true show of compassion on the part of these students,” said Yough School District Superintendent Janet Sardon. “These students remember every year what time of year it is and that the holidays are approaching. They realize that there are families in need, and this is their way to help.”

The annual challenge is an event that was launched by the Westmoreland County Food Bank as a way to generate funding for the center during this crucial holiday time, when families find themselves in need of a little extra help.

The challenge is put out to all of the schools in the county, asking for their participation to see who can raise the most money.

The means of raising the money is up to the individual schools who participate, and over the years, the event has been a proven success, generating thousands of dollars for county families.

“As always, we are very proud to have the Yough Intermediate Middle School as our partner in the fight against hunger,” said WCFB Development director Jennifer Miller. “This being the eighth year of the Turkey Cup Challenge we are proud to say that over $31,000 has been raised to help feed families throughout the holidays. Yough Intermediate Middle School is a shining example of giving back to their community, and most of the schools that participate have many families who may benefit from their fundraising efforts.”

The Yough students who participated were treated to an afternoon out, as they were excused from their afternoon classes to walk the track, listen to music and hang out with friends.

The students from the school also have a perfect record, as they have raised the most money out of the participating schools every year that they have taken part in the challenge.

“This event has become an annual campaign for our students and staff,” said Yough Intermediate school principal Anthony DeMaro. “The students take part in this event because it allows them to actively promote hunger awareness and offer support for members of their community. This friendly competition between neighboring schools encourages participation and school spirit. The students enjoy this event because it joins a generous act with an afternoon filled with camaraderie amongst friends and faculty and its always nice to finish a day with a long walk with friends.”

The event is organized by Yough Middle School science teacher Brian Grindle, who brought the idea to the school and takes pride in the continued interest shown by both students and staff.

“This event has become woven into the fabric of our school,” Grindle said. “Our students and the district as a whole are very charitable and are always ready to step up for those in need. Our goal is to always provide the most amount of help that we can. We would love to exceed the all-time high of over $14,000.”

The winners of the challenge will be announced in November, but the students and staff of Yough Middle School can always consider themselves big winners in the eyes of grateful families who benefit from their drive.

“We come together as a family for a worthwhile cause that positively affects our neighbors,” DeMaro said.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.