Vt. culinary students feed NYC homeless - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. culinary students feed NYC homeless

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Jerry Prevost's passion is teaching.

He's generous with his praise for his high school culinary arts students at St. Johnsbury Academy. But it is a lesson he teaches them outside of this classroom that brings him and his wife Crystal to tears.

"Oh, it's so enriching. It really makes, see I'm going to cry, it really makes Thanksgiving for our family," says his wife Crystal.

Since their daughters Danielle and Amy were little, Jerry and Crystal have taken culinary students on a mission to New York City to feed homeless kids at the Covenant House.

"They call it 'the cheese bus,'" he says.

Since 1988, a group of volunteers from the Northeast Kingdom has been coming here .

"23 years ago, it was my second year teaching. I got a phone call saying we do this Vermont Thanksgiving in New York City, would you be willing to donate some pies and rolls?" he says.

Since then, every year Jerry's students bake up 60 pies, 600 rolls and 70 loaves of pumpkin bread.

Samantha Mason is one of seventeen culinary students who made the trip this year.

"This past year I sat down with a person and talked with him for thirty minutes about what he has been through and I learned so much about him," she says.

And so much about herself too.

"I learned my life isn't so hard. My life could be a whole lot worse and when I got to connect with him, I got to walk a little in his shoes and it opened my eyes to the whole world, not just a small Vermont town," she says.

And nothing has stopped the cheese bus.

"9-11 happened in September and we were there in November and it was still smoldering," he says.

They watched each visit as their adopted community rose from the ashes. They were moved to be able to snap this photo in front of the Freedom Tower this year.

"The whole trip is so heartfelt," Crystal Prevost says. "From the kids going down, here I go again, and from what we get in return."

Now that their girls are grown, Jerry and Crystal are passing the torch to another Academy family.

"We're not going to be physically there, but in spirit we'll be there forever," he says.

Since it started, churches in Danville have helped to raise money to help cover the cost of the food.

The Vermonters feed between 300 and 400 homeless kids each Thanksgiving.

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