Edgemont High School junior Jared Turell is driven to help others.
He is the creator of the Edgemont F.U.L.L. program, an EHS club dedicated to feeding the homeless using leftovers.
According to Turell, 16, the idea for the club started after his grandfather passed away in December 2017 and his family was observing shiva.
“Tons of people brought over much more food than our family could handle,” Turell said.
After looking at all the leftovers Turell and his mother decided to give some of the food to the White Plains-based Open Arms Shelter for Men.
Turell recalled how he and his mom felt after their first delivery.
“We started talking about the experience [and] realized how often we could do it and we expanded into how often other families could do it also,” Turell said.
Turell decided the best way to expand his effort was to create a school club.
Turell asked EHS history teacher Dan Schuchat to be the teacher representative for the club. (Each student starting a club at EHS is required to have a teacher representative.)
“I chose [Schuchat] because he’s a very well-known and respected teacher who lives in Edgemont,” said Turell, adding Schuchat as a resident would “have a passion” for the work the club was doing.
The Edgemont F.U.L.L. club — which stands for Friends Using Leftovers Lovingly — launched in April.
The program resembles a food delivery service. Turell and his fellow club members drive to local residents’ houses, pick up any amount of food the resident is willing to donate, and bring it to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
The EHS junior said the program started with only a few pickups at the end of the previous school year because word of the program hadn’t yet spread through the community.
However, this school year, Turell said, more people are aware of the program, thanks to the Parent Student Teacher Association newsletter.
“Since I’ve come back from the summer, I’ve done tons of pickups,” Turell said. “I’ve done four in the last 10 days.”
During the Edgemont School District Board of Education meeting Sept. 25, the board and administration recognized Turell for his “outstanding citizenship” by presenting him with the district’s first “Jewel of the Heart” award for 2018-19.
“In Edgemont we want our kids to be more than viable economic units in some future economy,” said Edgemont Board of Education President Jon Faust. “Sure, [EHS offers] an excellent education involving preparation for future careers. But, Jared’s thoughtfulness, and his initiative to help others in a real and meaningful way, represents the best of what we have to offer.”
Edgemont F.U.L.L. is not Turell’s first experience with community service.
The EHS soccer and basketball player is a volunteer at the Miracle League of Westchester where, one day a week in the spring, he plays baseball with children who have special needs.
In addition, Turell is taking over the town of Greenburgh’s Snow Angels program, in which young volunteers help elderly members of Greenburgh by clearing snow from their driveways.
As for the Edgemont F.U.L.L. program, Turell said the group is seeking donations and volunteers, and anyone interested in helping can contact Turell by email at email@example.com.
There is no limit to the amount of food the program will accept, Turell said. In fact, the program’s volunteers have dropped off a portion as small as leftover cake.
“What I would just throw out with my leftover sandwich from lunch could be dinner for someone who actually needs it,” Turell said.