AUBURN — For the seventh year in a row, dozens of teachers, students and police officers joined forces to feed families in need in Cayuga and Seneca counties. 

Although school was closed Wednesday, several students spent the morning at Auburn Junior High School and Mynderse Academy in Seneca Falls to pack Thanksgiving meals with Majorpalooza Inc. And while the event is largely about helping families for the holidays, Chris Major — a school resource officer in Auburn and chairman of Majorpalooza — said it is also a teaching tool for students. 

"I think a lot of kids take for granted where they come from and what they get, and I think it's nice for them to see there are families out there who need a little bit of help," Major said. "It helps the students understand that some of their classmates don't always have it as good as they might have it." 

Lucas Lukowski, a junior at Auburn High School, said this was his second year helping at the event. A football player, Lukowski did a lot of the heavy lifting, carrying the turkeys and trimmings to people's cars for delivery. 

"It really helps people out that are in need ... and it brings the community together to help others," the 17-year-old said. "I think it's really good for the community." 

This year, Major said the organization was able to feed 220 families; half of those families live in the Auburn Enlarged City School District while the rest live in Seneca Falls.

Each family received a turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables and dinner rolls, as well as a pumpkin pie for dessert. Major said they also donated a few extra items this year, including some crackers, pasta, sauce, and macaroni and cheese. 

"We were going to do more of the trimmings for Thanksgiving, but instead we decided to create another meal," he said. "So this year, the families are getting lunch and dinner." 

Altogether, Major said it cost Majorpalooza around $3,000, most of which was donated by the teachers' unions and police unions in both counties. 

In addition to the school resource officers, Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler and Deputy Chief Roger Anthony were at the junior high school Wednesday. Both said the police department was happy to lend a hand. 

"This is what our goal has been — to get more involved in the community," Butler said. "It's not about us, but it does help people see us in a different light and that's important to us." 

"It's growing and it's really a nice way to give back to the community," Anthony added. "We're really proud of these guys ... and we're just happy to help." 

Staff writer Megan Blarr can be reached at (315) 282-2282 or megan.blarr@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @CitizenBlarr. 

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Crime and Courts Reporter