The Okaloosa County School District provided Thanksgiving dinners to 119 families across the county on Thursday in partnership with Publix, Florida Power & Light and Jacobs Titan.
- On Thursday, families simply pulled up to the District’s central complex building in Niceville where district staff and volunteers loaded up everything they would need for a Thanksgiving meal, including a turkey.
“This was an initiative from Superintendent Marcus Chambers,” said Catherine Card, the district’s public information officer. “He wanted to help add an extra layer of support for all of our schools that do so much throughout the school year, especially during the holidays. We wanted to reach as many families as we could so that they would have a good holiday.”
Publix in Niceville helped facilitate the ordering of the meals that were purchased by Florida Power & Light and Jacobs Titan to help sponsor the families.
The district contacted each school to identify three to four families in need. Most families picked up meals Thursday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., while some families who couldn’t make it had meals personally delivered by district staff. Six foster families with Children In Crisis in Fort Walton Beach also received meals.
Here is what they received:
- Pumpkin Pie with whip cream
- Green Beans (canned)
- Cream of mushroom soup (canned)
- Roasting pan
- Chicken broth
- Dinner Rolls
- Gallon of milk
- Roasting pan
“One family that we’re delivering to told me that they just lost their home to a fire,” Card said. “She really appreciated this because they wouldn’t have been able to do this for Thanksgiving due to the financial hardship that they’re in from losing their home.”
This is the inaugural Thanksgiving meal giveaway for the Okaloosa County School District, with plans to continue it each year.
“One of the pillars of our next generation of Okaloosa schools is community engagement,” said Superintendent Marcus Chambers. “So anytime that you can work with partners like Florida Power and Light and Jacobs Titan to be able to make a difference, that’s something that we’re all about.”
Chambers said schools already do a fantastic job during the holidays to help students in need, and the district wanted to provide for families on a larger scale.
“This is the first year. We’re extremely excited and we also want to do something during the Christmas time as well,” Chambers said. “But giving back to families who do so much for their kids, if we can just give that little bit extra during the holiday season, I think that’s a great thing for our school district.”