Two days before Thanksgiving, the students and staff at the Riley School baked 12 pies, dozens of cookies and rolls, a dozen squash and three turkeys. Families donated so many bags of fresh and canned food that the hallway where they were being collected became crowded. But they did not sit down to enjoy the feast they had assembled.

Instead, they gave it away.

For more than three decades, students and staff at the Riley School have used the holidays as an opportunity to build community while giving back to the community. This was started back in the early '80s by late founder, Glenna Plaisted.

Children collected gently used toys and clothing to be delivered to the late Thomaston Toy Lady, Thelma Marr. She would repair and distribute the toys, clothing and food to families in the community who were in need. Thanks to Riley’s longtime school secretary, Bev Brown, Marr's daughter, this tradition lives on at Riley in honor of Plaisted and Marr.

Students and staff are collecting food, clothing and toys for local families all month. The community is invited to the school's holiday Music Fest Dec. 18 at 1:30 p.m. in the theater.

For more information, call the office at 596-6405.