Federal Way high schoolers got an early Thanksgiving feast, complete with turkey and pumpkin pie, on Monday as part of the 13th annual Young Life Thanksgiving Club dinner at Federal Way High School.
About 150 people, mostly students from all Federal Way high schools, attended the free dinner, while a small army of volunteers from throughout the community served up good will and cheer along with a variety of food, all donated.
“There’s a lot of kids in this community who don’t get a traditional Thanksgiving meal, so we want them to get that,” Young Life Associate Director Mike Heritage said.
Heritage said the 40 to 50 volunteers who contributed their food and time make the dinner such a success.
Monday, they were serving up 12 turkeys, 11 hams, 25 pies, 10 large serving trays of mashed and sweet potatoes, numerous salads, stuffing and green been casserole.
“The people who support us really go all out,” he said.
Afterward, those who weren’t too stuffed participated in a few games to wrap up the evening.
“It’s really a great opportunity to serve the kids of Federal Way,” Heritage said. “We try to be a safe place for Federal Way students. There are a lot of places that aren’t safe.”
Young Life is a non-denominational Christian faith-based organization with chapters throughout the country. In Federal Way, clubs at each of the high schools meet weekly. Heritage said members and coordinators play games and eat snacks, all while building relationships with each other. Each meeting ends with a faith-based message of hope, he said.
Todd Zern, the local Young Life director, said Young Life volunteers give a lot to the high schoolers of themselves. In addition to building students’ faith and introducing them to a relationship with Jesus, he said they will also meet with them individually, perhaps going to get a burger or seeing a local game. The underlying goal, he said, is for them to build friendships and let the students understand that they are loved.
“We care a lot about these kids for who they are, regardless of the decisions they make,” Zern said.