The school has been holding a Thanksgiving food drive for more than 20 years, and this year, they collected more donations than ever.By Briana Smith

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pleasant Hills Middle School continued its Thanksgiving tradition, hoping all families have a delicious meal this holiday season.

After three weeks of collecting donations, the students made a special delivery to West Elizabeth Food Bank.

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“This year has been a phenomenal year,” said science teacher Kevin Gennaula. “Last year was a little bit of a setback with COVID and this year we wanted to come back real strong.”

They collected the most donations ever, ranging from 12,000 pounds of food to paper products to a $1,000 check.

“Those families need all that food, and it’s really good we got that much,” said student Riley McCabe.

It will help hundreds in the community, including those in Elizabeth, Jefferson Hills and Clairton.

But school leaders said it also teaches students the significance of giving back.

“It’s good to teach the kids to help others in the community that need it,” said Gennaula. “There’s a lot that need food at this time of year, so it’s just teaching them a lesson of helping others.”

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A lesson students McCabe and Imani Martin already understand. They started volunteering for the food drive two years ago.

“I really enjoy helping people, and I think it was fun to help people and know that you did something good,” said McCabe.

“Our whole school is off of pride and empathy,” said Imani. “So, it’s just nice to see other people happy.”

These two said this won’t be their last time donating.

“I like doing nice stuff to help the other people in need,” said Martin.

They plan to always serve savory meals and smiles during the holiday season.

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The Pleasant Hills Middle School has been holding this food drive for more than 20 years.