Nutrition Services celebrates Thanksgiving with healthier lunch

Parents flooded the Lantrip Elementary School cafeteria Thursday as they joined their children — clad in pilgrim hats, white bonnets, and colorful turkey headbands — for a nutritious Thanksgiving lunch.  

The annual celebration hosted by HISD’s Nutrition Services has attracted thousands of families to school cafeterias for more than 50 years. This year’s menu included roasted turkey with gravy, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, a fresh fruit medley, and ice cream. 

“We get a ton of volunteers, but it takes everyone,” Lantrip Principal Magdalena Strickland said, noting that about half of the school’s 700 families participate in the Thanksgiving lunch each year. “When parents know you care for their kids, they’ll go above and beyond.” 

Sitting with her daughters at a table adorned with a fall-themed centerpiece, María Rosas said she has attended the Thanksgiving event every year since her oldest daughter, who is now in sixth grade, attended Lantrip. Now she visits her younger daughters, third-grader Kimberly Suaréz and pre-kindergartner Priscilla Suaréz.  

“I’m going to keep coming until Priscilla goes to middle school,” Rosas said. 

Kimberly Suaréz said she looks forward to the lunch, which is a smaller version of the large family gathering they will have next Thursday. 

“I’m thankful for this tradition and having fun with my family,” she said. 

Clad in a black apron and hairnet, Business Operations Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby joined the cafeteria staff behind the serving line, where he chatted with students as he scooped mashed potatoes into small square containers and ladled gravy on top. 

“The fun part was seeing the kids’ faces as they looked forward to what they were about to eat,” Busby said.  

After wrapping up his mashed potato duty, Busby sat down to eat with a group of students and parents, including a father who he learned had also attended Lantrip many years ago. 

“I really enjoyed that conversation,” Busby said. “Being an HISD product myself, I like that these same schools we went to are good enough for our children.”