There are four guiding principles for selection in National Honor Society: scholarship, leadership, service and character.
Those traits will be displayed this week as the members of the Sacred Heart National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society prepare for their annual Christmas Eve Community Dinner.
The dinner, which has become a Sedalia holiday tradition for 33 years, will once again be served, Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria and through their delivery program.
The traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls and pumpkin pie is provided to the elderly, unemployed and homeless of the county at no cost.
“It takes a lot pf planning to make this happen,” first year SHS National Honor Society advisor Timara Kennon said. “Last year was my first year here and so I came in and volunteered to help at the dinner so I could see what happens and how they did things.
“My husband and I are from Washington and we always were in charge of a Fifth Friday Fish Fry,” she added. “Even though it seems like there is some nervousness this week it really isn’t anything new to us; we’re ready.”
Kennon said she has relied on both her students and parents to help make this year’s event as seamless as the dinners in the past have been.
“We’ve been working really hard and I have some incredible students and parents who have stepped in to help with everything,” Kennon said. “I have 33 members, but we serve around 600 meals so there is something for everyone to do.”
Kennon plans to have four different command posts on Christmas Eve to make the work load lighter for everyone.
“I’ll have a group in the kitchen working on food prep, one in cafeteria to serve the meals, one to organize the drivers and take-out meals and of course, one for the pumpkin pies,” Kennon said.
The pumpkin pies are always part of the dinner also one of the biggest areas of stress Kennon said with a laugh.
“I ask each of my students to bring in three pumpkin pies which doesn’t sound too bad,” Kennon said. “But when you think about it, that is almost 100 pies and I don’t know if there are that many pumpkin pies in all of Sedalia.
“I will be in mad crisis mode this weekend to make sure that we have enough of the pies,” Kennon added.
While the dinner is free for the recipients of the meal, it typically costs over $1,500 to cover the cost of the meal.
“I have my members who know they will not be able to help the day of the event write the letters seeking donations from the businesses and individuals who have contributed in the past,” Kennon said. “We also have a day in the fall where the students can dress down and donate money to help offset the cost of the meal.”
This year the students raised over $300 to contribute and Kennon said that individuals often contribute to the meal when they arrive for lunch or when the meals are delivered.
“I worry about having enough drivers but I have been told countless times that that is never an issue,” Kennon said. “I know that a lot of my students do this as a family project before they leave for their individual dinners and family Christmas celebrations.
“I’ve been told not to worry that the alumni just show up to help and I know that this project has become a school wide family effort,” Kennon added. “The elementary students have made cards to go with each meal and some of the classes made ornaments and small gifts to give with them as well.”
Kennon added that in time she has been at the school she has been impressed with how close-knit the students and staff of the school are.
“I know my husband and I made the decision when we moved to Sedalia that we wanted our students to have a faith based education,” Kennon said. “Our three children all attend Sacred Heart and it is funny how we have all fit in and become part of this incredible family who work to care for each other.”
Individuals wishing to schedule delivery of meals may do so by calling Sacred Heart School today and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 827-3800.
The meals will be delivered between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Christmas Eve. Individuals may also be served at the SHS cafeteria located at 416 W. Third Street on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484