On Thursday, Nov. 16, the Mancos School District will host a Thanksgiving meal in the Mancos School Cafeteria for students, family members, friends and community members to enjoy.
This free meal begins at 10:30 a.m. for kindergarten and first grade classes, followed by second and third grades at 11:05. Fourth and fifth graders will have their lunch at 11:40 a.m. and middle school and high school students will be in the cafeteria around 12:15 or 12:20 p.m.
Preschoolers will have a meal in the preschool building rather than the cafeteria to keep from overwhelming the children, according to Mancos Food Service Director Kacey Armes.
Attendees can choose which time they would wish to attend if they would like to eat with their child or a child they know. Last year, around 600 people attended.
“We warmly welcome all students, parents and faculty to come together for an afternoon of gratitude and community,” a newsletter from the district said on Wednesday.
This meal is made possible by around 40 of 50 people, Armes said, including those from the Mancos School District kitchen staff, high school culinary classes, Montezuma Farm to School, local food distributor Phoenix Foods and many other volunteers. The school board was also asked by Superintendent Todd Cordrey to help serve food, if they are available.
“Each of these amazing groups have put forth great effort to provide a home-cooked meal with a variety of local components in a warm and inviting atmosphere,” the district said.
The menu for the meal includes roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, roasted root vegetables, squash soup and pumpkin desserts.
Armes shared that the root vegetables and squash used in the meal was grown in the school garden by Montezuma Farm to School and was harvested by Mancos students. In total, Armes said they gathered around 30 gallons of vegetables to be used in the meal.
“We work together with the food services director and high school culinary class to plant crops that can be used in the school cafeteria and students throughout the school district participate making the garden a success. We love being part of the Mancos school community and this year we look forward to another Thanksgiving feast. Students helped us plant, grow and harvest onions, potatoes, garlic, Hubbard squash and horseradish for this year’s feast,” said Montezuma Farm to School Education Director Sorrell Redford.
Additionally, the pumpkins for the dessert was acquired locally from Phoenix Foods from Austin Family Farm, and is being prepared by Mancos’ culinary students.
“As we approach a season of gratitude and togetherness, our culinary arts students have been hard at work, utilizing their skills to contribute to a memorable Thanksgiving Day feast,” said Mancos High School culinary teacher Janet Fogel.
Fogel added that the desserts and vegetables prepared by students will showcase the “students’ culinary prowess and commitment to providing a wholesome, community-oriented dining experience.”
“We are thrilled to see the collaboration between our culinary arts students, the Mancos Food Service department and MSTF come to fruition. This partnership not only enriches our students’ education by connecting them with the origins of their ingredients but also strengthens the bonds within our community,” Fogel said.