Growing up during the late 1970s and 1980s in Houston’s South Park neighborhood, Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby and his childhood friends could never tell that anyone around them was going without or in need.
It wasn’t until he was an adult, he said, that he came to understand more about some of the choices that his family had to make — like always cooking at home and never eating out — to stay within their budget.
“There are a lot of families that go without food during the holidays,” Busby said. “It’s important for us to do what we can do address their needs, especially during the holiday season.”
On Wednesday, Busby joined with members of his Business Operations division to host a special holiday dinner giveaway this week for 50 families at Nathaniel Q. Henderson Elementary School.
Donations included turkeys, fresh collard greens, yams, gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, soups, pie crust mix and filling, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and cornbread mix.
“Today is such a special day,” Henderson Principal Alana Holloway said. “We want our students to have a happy holiday that is filled with good food and good family.”
HISD Nutrition Services spent the past week collecting donations from various Business Operations departments and then packing the holiday goodies into clear plastic tote bags, carefully inspecting their work to make sure each family would have the ingredients needed for a delicious holiday meal.
Henderson grandmother Sandra Collins said the holiday meal will make her grandson, pre-kindergartner Adam Taylor, a happy little boy on Christmas Day.
“He likes stuff like this. It’s going to make a difference at my house because we need the food,” Collins said. “I’ve had many kids and grandkids go through here, and this is the first time something like this has happened over here. I’m very grateful and happy about it.”
As families made their way into the school’s festively decorated cafeteria, HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan greeted them with a smile and holiday greetings.
“It’s important for us to show our parents that we appreciate them and support them when they’re in need,” Lathan said. “I wish all of our families a happy holiday.”
As Busby handed out food bags, he greeted parents, shook hands, and took photos to mark the occasion. For him, he said, the giveaway held a deeper, more personal meaning.
“It’s a blessing to be able to do this for someone else,” Busby said.