HAZARD—Forty five minutes. That’s all it took for students and staff at Hazard High School to make sure one of their own was able to have a hot Thanksgiving meal.
Every year students at the high school collect cans of food and boxes of stuffing for the families of underprivileged students at the school, Principal Happy Mobelini said.
“We provide the whole thing, everything that you could possibly need for Thanksgiving we provide,” he said, adding that teachers and staff provide money for the more expensive items, like the turkey.
This year, Mobelini said, those at the school also helped to provide another expensive item for one student in need of a little extra help.
Jimmy Perkins, a sophomore football player at the school, was one of the students set to receive a basket, but was unsure how his family would be able to cook the meal.
“Our stove broke Sunday. So, pretty much, we was out a stove, we didn’t have anything we could do,” said Perkins, whose family usually hosts Thanksgiving dinner for more than eight people.
After efforts to fix the stove had failed and the search for a new one ended in price tags far out of his family’s reach, Perkins said he put his faith in his school and classmates to help him and his family in their time of need.
“I knew if I came here and asked for one they’d help me as best as they could, at least come close to one, or find me a used one, or help at all,” Perkins said.
Perkins told some of his classmates and teachers about the predicament his family was in so close to one of the biggest cooking days of the year. Mobelini said once he was told about the situation he knew there was only one thing the school could do.
“We tried to call a few different agencies to see if they had a used stove, but they couldn’t find one used, and it was like Tuesday and we were out of school Wednesday and Thanksgiving was Thursday. So, the teachers and kids just put in a bunch of money and one person in town gave us some money and we bought a new stove,” he said.
Mobelini said it took 45 minutes to collect the money, purchase the stove at Sears, and deliver it to Perkins’ house.
Perkins said he had not told his family that he was going to try to get help from the school for a new stove.
“The old one was still in there, we was still trying to fix that one, so when we was at Sears I called my grandfather and I told him to get ready to get the old stove out, we’re getting a new one,” Perkins said.
Needless to say, Perkins’ grandfather could not believe they were so lucky, Perkins said.
“That’s not something that happens much to my family, we’re not well off financially like that. So, new things are pretty big to us,” he added.
Mobelini said this was not something new for the school to do since they help students and staff at the school whenever it is needed.
“We help people all the time. Anytime a kid’s in need we do whatever we can to get what they need,” he said, explaining that last year students collected money to help pay rent for one student’s family. “They just needed a stove and the kids got it for them.”
Perkins said he has wasted no time breaking in the new appliance, and he and his family are more than thankful for the generosity of the school.
“It’s a big thing. It’s not a cheap thing. It’s not something that’s cheap,” Perkins said. “We got it Tuesday, and Thanksgiving was two days away. That’s a pretty big accomplishment.”