The special celebration, occurring during normal lunch hours, is an HISD tradition that has attracted thousands of families to school cafeterias for more than 50 years. The event gives parents a chance to celebrate the holiday a week early by sharing a meal with their children.
The students and their families filled their plates with roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and sweet potato cake. Families sat down to enjoy their meals at reserved tables with fall-themed tablecloths and centerpieces.
Amanda Means, mother of second-grader Caedyn and fifth-grader Brayden, said she and her husband attend the Thanksgiving lunch nearly every year.
“We’re thankful that we get to spend this time with our children,” Means said. “I only wish we could all have lunch together as a family. There’s plenty of room in this cafeteria.”
Walnut Bend ES Principal Michele Dahlquist said this was the largest Thanksgiving lunch turnout to date.
“It’s always great for our parents to get involved,” Dahlquist said. “When they come to social events like these and feel comfortable, it’s more likely they’ll come out for academic things as well.”
Chef David Husbands said it can be challenging to come up with a healthy Thanksgiving menu that has low sodium, low fat, and whole grains.
“I think we pulled it off,” Husbands said. “The kids are eating this very nutritious meal, and they can’t taste the difference.”
Husbands said this time last year, many students and their families were still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, so this event was especially meaningful to them.