New Ken-Arnold bringing back community holiday dinner, canned food drive

·2 min read

Dec. 6—Families in the New Kensington-Arnold School District are being invited to gather to share a holiday meal, while helping those in need.

After not being held last year because of the covid pandemic, the district's free community holiday dinner will be held Wednesday, Dec. 15, in the cafeteria at Valley Junior-Senior High School.

The dinner will include activities for younger children, performances by the high school choir or band and a visit from Santa.

"We're expecting a good turnout," Superintendent Chris Sefcheck said.

The dinner was first held in 2017 at the suggestion of Nutrition Inc., the district's contracted cafeteria manager.

Reservations are due no later than Tuesday.

A form for students to complete and return is on the district's website at

Food drive returns

Those attending the dinner are asked to bring donations of canned and other nonperishable foods for the district's annual food drive, which also is returning. The drive benefits the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

This year's drive is being named in memory of 2014 Valley graduate Vinson A. Pelisari. A sergeant in the Marine Corps, Pelisari died in November 2020 at the age of 24. He had been active in collecting food for the county food bank and Project SEED, which provides food to district students to take home for the weekends.

"He was really committed to our community and giving back to those in need, even when he joined the armed forces," said Rachel Schrock, senior class president.

The collection effort will run from Monday to Wednesday, Dec. 22, culminating with a volleyball tournament Dec. 22. Donation boxes will be available at local businesses, and donations can be taken to the high school.

Students are hoping to collect 1,000 cans districtwide, said Ben Aftanas, senior class treasurer.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, or via Twitter .

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