On the Monday before Thanksgiving, husband and wife duo Raj and Daljit Chahal served a Thanksgiving meal to the students and staff of Independence Network at Santa Clara Adult Education center–1840 Benton Street Santa Clara.
Wilson High School’s multipurpose room smelled deliciously of Thanksgiving classics such as turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. There were also a healthy mix of fruits and veggies. They played some classic rock and pop songs so some students gleefully sang along. The tables where adorned with festive colors as well as the plates and napkins.
According to Santa Clara Adult Education’s website: “The mission of Santa Clara Adult Education is to empower adults of all ages and abilities to succeed in an ever-changing world.”
“Students really enjoy having this every year,” said James Farris, a teacher at the center. “Not all of them are at home… so it’s nice for them to have a real Thanksgiving. It’s nice for them to spend Thanksgiving with their friends and peers.”
Mrs. Chahal is a preschool teacher at Wilson and literally walked across this opportunity to help out.
“One day, I was passing by and saw the director [of the center],” said Mrs. Chahal. “I asked if they do anything for Thanksgiving. They don’t. Another family used to do it but not anymore so I stepped in.”
This is their second year pulling off this event with the help of volunteers and family. It was truly a group and family effort. The Chahals’ son Amar helped prepare the turkey and gravy.
The students’ eating abilities varied but they had their teachers there to assist. According to Mr. Chahal, the teachers are a huge help since they know the students’ abilities and what they can eat. For some students, the teachers got their food and fed the students before helping themselves. Everyone was grateful and gave thunderous applause for the Chahals.
“The food was delicious!” said Sara, a student. “I love it here!”
This is now an annual event for the Chahals. They hope to expand it to help other communities like the homeless.
“We appreciate Raj and Daljit for seeing and fulfilling a need,” said instructor Yvonne Jasso. “The students get a lot out of people who give, step out of their comfort zone and give to others.”