16th Annual Turkey Train Inspires Gratitude

MICDS students, faculty and staff took advantage of a gorgeous fall morning to participate in our annual Turkey Train, a tradition that’s been going strong for 16 years now. (Check out our Turkey Cam video at the end of this article!)

In the weeks leading up to the event, members of the MICDS community brought in canned and boxed goods. Then, Monday morning at drop-off, the frozen turkeys began to arrive. Two large piles formed, one on the Upper School campus and another at the MAC. Red barrels scattered around campus were overflowing with food. Everything – and everyone – ended up at one place: the McDonnell Athletic Center.

Our generous community donated an incredible 10,240 pounds of food—enough to provide 8,359 meals—to help others in need around our area this Thanksgiving. We celebrated with an all-school assembly where the Upper School band, under the direction of Mrs. Becky Long and Mr. Josh Baumgartner, played a variety of songs as the community gathered. They ended with a rousing version of the Saint Louis Country Day School fight song to kick off the program.

Upper School Community Co-Chairs Ally Kalishman ’21 and Nischal Ada ’20 welcomed everyone and began the event with some interesting facts.

Ada said, “Did you know that turkey wasn’t included on the original Thanksgiving meal? However, today, it brings us all together, as a school, as a family, as a community that strives to support those in need.”

They spoke about how the Turkey Train provides the largest amount of frozen turkeys for the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Each year, MICDS alone collects around 10,000 pounds of turkey and other food items, which provides over 10,000 Thanksgiving meals for the area’s needy.

Kalishman shared some facts about the good work of the St. Louis Area Foodbank. She said, “The St. Louis Area Food Bank reaches out much farther than St. Louis. It feeds people in 26 counties in both Missouri and Illinois. The food bank helps those who find themselves in difficult financial situations and those who are in poverty. Many people who face financial problems are forced to make sacrifices, but putting food on the table should not be one of them. The food bank helps relieve some of their stress by feeding 101,000 children, 2,500 homeless and 18,000 senior citizens each year.”

To help their peers understand just how many people our community helps feed over Thanksgiving, they showed two popular venues. “With your help, the Turkey Train feeds as many people on Thanksgiving as people who can attend a Muny show. And just because we love our Blues, think about how we provide as many meals as more than half of the Enterprise Center,” said Kalishman.

Ada continued, “As you can imagine, the holidays are the Foodbank’s busiest time of the year. On Thanksgiving, we all look forward to the wonderful meals we are able to share with our loved ones. We would like to thank each and every one of you for making this same opportunity possible for many families out there though your donations and spirit. This is what Thanksgiving is really about. We have been inspired by all of the hard work that has gone into this year’s Turkey Train, and we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to the St. Louis Area Foodbank and the many people who have helped out behind the scenes.”

“We hope today reminds you, as it has reminded us, how fortunate we are to be a part of the incredible MICDS community.”

Kalishman encouraged everyone to get involved with the St. Louis Area Foodbank throughout the year, both by continuing to donate food and by volunteering.

The crowd was then treated to two special videos, a lively Thanksgiving Beasley Broadcast and a heartfelt production by the 8th Grade Student Council.

Three 4th grade students, Lydia Brown ’28, Charlie Cordes ’28 and Yusuf Siddiqui ’28, presented a symbolic basket of donated food to Mr. Will Beshore from the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Mr. Beshore graciously accepted the gift and thanked the MICDS community for their continued support. He said, “There are 475 families who will have Thanksgiving dinner because of you. I’m thankful to MICDS for doing this, for doing it every year and for making an impact on our community.”

Head of School Jay Rainey then shared a special story that can help us all remember to be grateful for what we have. See his weekly letter for details.

The seniors of the Upper School chorus, under the direction of Mr. Dana Self, gathered in front of the crowd and offered a beautiful rendition of our Alma Mater before Mr. Rainey dismissed the crowd. The Upper School band gave everyone another round of music as they exited.

Thank you to everyone who made this Turkey Train so special. Thanks to your donations of food and time, and your continued support of our students and teachers, we have much to be grateful for!

What’s it like to be a turkey going through the MICDS Turkey Train? Check it out!