FOES students give thanks over annual Thanksgiving lunch

Published 12:59 pm Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Forest Oaks Elementary School cafeteria staff serves students Thanksgiving lunch on Nov. 18. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

The Forest Oaks Elementary School cafeteria staff serves students Thanksgiving lunch on Nov. 18. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)


CHELSEA – Forest Oaks Elementary School fifth grader Camden Thomas had an extra reason to be thankful Nov. 18.

His 11th birthday was Nov. 18, the same day FOES held its annual Thanksgiving lunch for students, and he was excited to eat the meal with his mother, Lannette Thomas.

“I’m thankful for my family, food and school,” Camden said.

Lannette said the family moved to Alabama only three years ago and loves the teachers and staff at FOES, as well as others they have met in Chelsea.

“We have just settled really well here,” she said. “Everybody is super sweet. We just couldn’t be happier.”

The FOES cafeteria staff began serving students turkey and dressing, green beans, sweet potato casserole and dessert at 10:30 a.m.

“This is just one of our favorite times,” FOES Child Nutrition Program manager Angie Smith said. “We always consider it an honor and privilege to do a Thanksgiving lunch for the kids. We tell them we want the lunchroom to feel like their grandmother’s house.”

Year after year, Smith and her staff aim to make the Thanksgiving lunch as similar to a homemade meal as possible.

“Our goal is to always make it exactly like a homemade meal would be,” Smith said. “For some kids, this is the only warm meal they get.”

The cafeteria staff was expecting anywhere between 400 and 450 students in kindergarten through fifth grade to come through the line Nov. 18.

Fifth grader Jordan Garrett said he was thankful for the time the staff spent making all of the food for the students.

“I’m also thankful for the workers because they’re really nice to us,” Garrett said. “Their food is really good. It tastes just like regular Thanksgiving food.”

Many students said they were thankful for family and friends, while others mentioned food, God, their school and other intangible blessings.

“I’m pretty much thankful that we don’t have school next week,” fourth grader Julieanne Newman said.

“I’m thankful that I have a happy life,” Nick Traffica added.

Before leaving the cafeteria, fifth grader Joshua Christian said he was thankful for the fifth grade students making Thanksgiving placemats for the Jimmie Hale Mission.

“It’s a great day,” Smith said of the lunch. “We enjoy it, and the kids seem to enjoy it. It’s a wonderful time of year.”