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School's Thanksgiving Celebration Takes On New Meaning After Sandy

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A Queens school turned an annual Thanksgiving celebration into something more for Hurricane Sandy victims. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.

Irma Hines hasn't smiled much since Hurricane Sandy destroyed her home and displaced her family, but the Thanksgiving celebration at her son's school did a lot to raise her spirits.

The community, staff and parent volunteers at the Village Academy have been helping students and parents through these tough times.

"It's great, especially for our children, who need so much," Hines said.

"I'm glad," said student Christi Baptiste. "Very happy. I'm thankful for everything, everything that the community and my school did for me. Ms. Lee, you're one of the best principals I ever had."

Hundreds of Sandy victims attended the academy's annual fall harvest luncheon. This year's event was larger than usual because community leaders, residents and a Manhattan school wanted to contribute more than just food.

"CGPS, they made these wrist bands for our school and their students actually sold them and they raised money, so they helped to cater our luncheon and they gave supplies," said Doris Lee, the principal of Village Academy. "We had the district attorney's office come out. We had Lisa G from Zumba in the community come out and we had our staff. They cooked tons and tons of food for us."

The generosity didn't end there. After the event, many of the victims were given bags of food and supplies to help them through the week.

We had formula, we had diapers, cleaning supplies, we had canned vegetables, tuna fish. We had about everything you can name," said Shaquan Griffin, a parent volunteer.

Sandra Rector and her grandson, Dajon, are thankful for the donation.

"Everything we have here, we need," said Sandra Rector. "We were freezing. We got blankets."

They, like so many others here, also felt the warmth of a generous community.

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