Compassion Kitchen Project Thanksgiving fundraiser


Photo credit Hewlett Connell

Co-chairs Lauren James and Tyler Harris have been spreading the word about the Compassion City Kitchen Thanksgiving fundraiser

In the winter of 2021, the Westminster Lower School students competed against neighboring Atlanta public schools for the “Top Turkey” award. They raised over $5000 for the Compassion Kitchen Project, an organization that focuses on helping restaurants stay in business and provides food for families in need. The Wildcats were back at it again this year hoping to win the award two years in a row. 

Compassion Kitchen was established during the pandemic in 2020 as a COVID-19 relief effort, focusing on the Grove Park and Buford highway areas. Founders Lisa Blanco and Isabel Rice heard of the local food crisis and began the program with an abundance of support. As restaurants began to close and food insecurity increased, many people lost the ability to feed themselves and their families. Furthermore, volunteer availability was decreasing, and very few places were allowing people to come in and serve. 

In those times of illness, death, economic struggles, and hardships in the community, Blanco and Rice felt compelled to come up with a solution. They created a new and simplified way to serve those who were facing these troubles. 

Throughout the pandemic, they partnered with restaurants to provide nutritious meals to families and individuals lacking access to food. Nonetheless, their desire to give back to the Atlanta community did not stop there. Compassion Kitchen continues to supply meals, pantry bags, produce bags, and holiday meals to the homeless and others facing adversities today.

“Last year, they successfully bought over 800 families healthy meals during the holiday season,” said Co-Chair Lauren James. 

In the past, Compassion Kitchen worked to distribute turkeys to food-insecure families along with a complete, nourishing holiday meal. In addition, their project’s goal is to incorporate schools in the area and encourage them to purchase turkeys as well. The school with the highest percentage of participation will be the “Big Turkey” and can even be asked to act as a representative of Compassion Kitchen and help distribute the meals. By partnering with Buckhead schools, Compassion Kitchen is able to pick up leftover meals every day to avoid waste and support non-profits.

The Lower and Middle Schools have been working diligently to incorporate Upper School students, faculty, and staff and engage with Compassion Kitchen in their mission to expand gratitude, love, and kindness. 

“Compassion Kitchen has a goal of giving Thanksgiving food to families in need this holiday season,” said Upper School Co-Chair Tyler Harris. “In order to help them reach their mission, Westminster created opportunities for the Lower, Middle, and Upper schools to raise money.” 


In order to spread awareness, the Co-Chairs and others involved thoughtfully organized a fundraiser for all Westminster students to participate in. Thanks to the PAWS parents and the help of Stacy Chalmers, Hartley Glass, and Emily Horne, students received the opportunity to participate in a drive to donate and raise money so that Compassion Kitchen can assist less fortunate families this Thanksgiving. The fundraiser invited students to give back to their community.


As students brought in money for the cause, Compassion Kitchen began to form a community of giving within Westminster. Everyone worked together and helped one another on a brand new level that inspired all of the Westminster community. Compassion Kitchen has provided an intelligent, yet easy way to serve, and the Cats are taking advantage of the opportunity by doing their best to partake in what they have to offer. 

“Students could bring in money to their advisors or grade chairs, and that money was pooled together and donated to Compassion Kitchen,” said Harris. “To amplify the giving spirit, Westminster participated in a friendly competition with other Atlanta schools to raise the most money and contribute the most to Compassion Kitchen.” 

“We hope to lead the fundraising charge again this year,” said James. 

Go get that turkey, Wildcats.

Edited by Kelley Lu