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Senior Project Spotlight: Carter Kinkaid

All 600 packed boxes showed this statement. The boxes contained an assortment of canned fruits and vegetables, boxes of dried goods, and a mix of various other goods. The first 150 boxes contained a bag of fresh apples. The second 150 boxes contained a box of instant mashed potatoes. The third 150 boxes contained a bag of potatoes. The last 150 boxes contained milk and a whole turkey.

Over Winter break, the last thing most seniors are thinking about is senior projects. This was not the case for Carter Kinkead. Over the years, his family has been highly involved during the holiday time to help pack and distribute the Stuff The Bus donations the community collects. Naturally, he gravitated towards making this his senior project.

Along with the boxes of food, recipients also received toys and other necessities. Kinkead’s stepdad, Brookes Cooper, is the fire chief and is in charge of the packing process and delivery process once the fire station receives the donations. 

Once filled, volunteers pushed the carts to the assembly tables. Due to the limited available carts, piles began forming on the floor. Volunteers separated food into multiple categories, including: proteins (soups, beans, canned meats), fruits and vegetables, dried or boxed goods, and a variety pile that held the oddballs (peanut butter, glass jars, baby food). Each box would contain about 10 pounds of cans and boxed foods.
Volunteers packed boxes in an assembly line fashion. Beforehand, the firefighters taped tables together and had cardboard taped to the top to make the boxes pass swiftly from person to person. The first items to be put in were heavy or bulky items, such as cans and jars. The second round included the boxes’ specialty item, such as turkey, milk, instant potatoes, or fruit. The third round included adding boxed goods until the box was full. The box was then stacked with the rest of the finished boxes.
A trailer carried all of the turkeys from the store to the firehouse. A separate truck transported milk crates.
Carter Kinkead (middle) poses with his mom and stepdad in front of the packed boxes. Kinkead’s family has participated in this event for many years as his stepdad is the fire chief. Not only did he plan on participating again this year, he also planned to make it his senior project. This is his first year being part of the delivering process of taking the boxes to the families the day before Christmas Eve.
After the first round of sorting and when the carts were filled, younger volunteers would push the carts to the assembly tables. As the carts were emptied, the younger volunteers would take the cart back to the piles of food and refill the carts. Local groceries are generous enough each year to lend the fire station the carts to aid in this process.

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