LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- 17,000 Las Cruces elementary and middle school students will receive breakfast and lunch meals for Thanksgiving break.
According to Las Cruces Public Schools, nearly $125,000 of state funding given to LCPS was used to provide students with nine days worth of perishable food as a part of the Governor of New Mexico's Hunger Initiative.
LCPS told ABC-7 that elementary and middle school students currently receive free lunch through federally funded programs, but this is the first year the district will provide food for the entire holiday break.
Hundreds of volunteers gathered at Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces Thursday to package the meals.
"When I announced to the students and staff that we were going to be able to take some snacks and some food and some breakfast home, all the kids cheered," said Sherri Love, principal at Doña Ana Elementary School.
"Each child is going to receive a bag and that's wonderful. As a principal, that's one of the things we worry about is going into these long breaks because we serve all of the students at our school, it's 100 percent free and reduced." Love said.
LCPS made the announcement to faculty and staff on Wednesday, making educators like Love nervous it would take hours in order to package meals before the Thanksgiving break.
"It makes me emotional just looking around, not only at my staff being here but all of the community that came out."
Faculty, staff, and students from across the district went out of their way to give back to their community just in time for the holiday season.
Students like Tabatha Hunter from Mayfield High School came to help after basketball practice wrapped up for the evening.
"I feel like it warms everyone's hearts here to be able to give back to such an extensive community and to the little kids because they are the next generation," Hunter said.
The meals will be delivered to students across the Las Cruces on Friday just in time for Thanksgiving break.