BRIDGMAN — More than 10 middle and high school students hauled cans of corn and unloaded apples Thursday as they helped put together 120 Thanksgiving boxes to be given away to needy families.

Several sixth-graders giggled at Woodland Shores Baptist Church in Bridgman as they sorted through the potatoes, throwing out the bad ones.

“If it’s mushy, it’s bad,” said Keeli Frank from Lakeshore Middle School.

The Thanksgiving boxes will be given away Saturday to families that have already been chosen during the second annual Turkey Tote Away, sponsored by the Caring Cupboard, said Heidi Southard, coordinator with the nonprofit.

“I try to make it so volunteers always have fun,” said Southard, who works as a speech pathologist at Lakeshore Middle School.

The boxes contain ingredients for an entire Thanksgiving meal, including corn, beans, turkey, gravy, potatoes, stuffing, milk and corn bread mix.

“There will be pumpkin pie and whipped cream topping in them when we’re done,” Southard said. “It’s pretty fun.”

There are also egg noodles in the boxes.

“We’re trying to make it so you can make stuff for leftovers ... like turkey and noodles,” she said.

Southard said area businesses and community members have been very generous.

Hardings Friendly Market in Bridgman saved Caring Cupboard $600 by donating boxes to be used to put the meals in. Last year, she said she bought totes for the meals. In addition, she said the staff at Hardings sold Caring Cupboard the items at the lowest price possible.

In addition, she said Watermark Brewing Co. in Stevensville held a give-back night recently, in which business donated $1 for every pint of beer it sold.

But Southard said more is needed to cover the cost of the Thanksgiving boxes.

To donate or volunteer, email Southard at, or go to the Caring Cupboard at Woodland Shores page on Facebook.

Allison Arend, assistant principal at Lakeshore Middle School, said she invited students to come as part of the school’s Positivity Project, which was started last school year by Principal Jonathan Swegles.

“Part of the Positivity Project is the ‘other people matter’ mindset,” Arend said. “When Heidi posted about Caring Cupboard needing some extra hands, I really thought that fit well with our ‘other people matter’ mindset and would be a good opportunity for some kids to help out in their community.”

She said the Positivity Project has 24 different character strengths, with the school focusing on a different one each week.

This week, students are learning about bravery. Next week’s focus is on knowing my words and actions affect others, she said.

Contact:, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege