Celebrating Thanksgiving in school cafeterias

Thanksgiving meals are being served up in school cafeterias across the country, despite widespread supply chain disruptions making it difficult for schools to get everything from entree items and juice to lunch trays and sporks.  Through the dedicated efforts of school nutrition professionals, delicious and nutritious Thanksgiving celebrations are bringing smiles to students, with regional and cultural favorites on the menu for special holiday meals.

Lunch in Yuma, AZ.

It can be a lot of work to serve Thanksgiving dinner for an entire school district. The staff of Colonial School District  in New Castle, DE, say they have mastered cooking boneless turkeys for the occasion. They start with 30 gallon kettles and boil the turkeys, then shred it and serve with mashed potatoes and gravy, tender green beans, a homemade dinner roll, cranberry sauce, fresh fruit and a special treat!  The holiday meal was served with smiles and messages of appreciation from students.

Yuma, Arizona’s School District One served a traditional Thanksgiving meal to students complete with turkey, dressing, gravy, green beans and mini pumpkin pies with cream. The staff says this is always their busiest week of the year but they don’t mind as they are thankful for all of our loyal customers.

Students from Laurans School District 56 in Clinton, South Carolina made sure the staff in their school cafeterias know they are appreciated. Messages of thanks were given to the lunch ladies including one reading “We Donut Know What We Would Do Without Awesome Lunch Ladies Like You.”   

Experiencing the impact of widespread supply chain disruptions, the Nutrition Service Department for the Charleston County School District (SC) ran into troubles with turkey delivery. Instead of serving a traditional turkey meal, staff ordered a truckload of chicken drumsticks and served them with locally grown sweet potatoes for a special holiday meal.

In Georgia, the community came together to make sure students in the Fayette County School Nutrition Program  would not go without their special turkey meal at school. With a truck driver shortage impeding efforts, school nutrition staff stuffed their own vehicles to deliver over 150 cases of turkeys to schools in the district.

Livingston Parish School Food Services(LA) prepared 19,000 special Thanksgiving meals for district students before the holiday break, with turkey sandwiches and stuffing, sides of cranberry sauce, peas and sweet potatoes.  The nutrition staff at Walker High School even made sure the students who are virtual or hybrid were included in the celebrations. At one of the district’s elementary schools, the cafeteria manager and assistant manager left the kitchen after lunch to read a Thanksgiving story to students.

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