Learning Tree students provide cranberries for Jimenez Dinner

November 15, 2016

What is a Thanksgiving dinner without cranberries? Thanks to students from Northside ISD’s Learning Tree After-School program there will be enough cranberries for the 24,000 guests expected at the 37th annual Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

For the third year, students accepted the challenge to be the sole provider of cranberries for the annual event, one of the largest Thanksgiving events in the country. According to Patricia Jimenez, daughter of the late Raul Jimenez, it takes 4,688 pounds (or 75,008 ounces) of cranberry sauce to feed that many people. The students’ ultimate goal was to collect 6,500 cans of cranberries during the month of October.

Seventy seven Learning Tree sites and 20 Club LT sites held can drives to collect cans from students, families, and school staff. When all the cans were counted, a whopping 13,290 cans had been collected. In the canned drive contest, Beard Elementary School took home first place in the large program category by collecting 1,248 cans, Martin Elementary School took home first place in the small program category by collecting 815 cans, and Vale Middle School took home first place in the middle school program category for the second year in a row by collecting 171 cans.

students with cans of cranberries

Beard ES Learning Tree students collected 1,248 cans of cranberries.

students with cans of cranberries

Club LT students at Vale MS collected 171 cans of cranberries

“We are so proud of our Learning Tree students and their families,” says Lydia Martinez, director of Adult and Community Education. “Their generosity will impact the thousands of people who attend the Jimenez Thanksgiving dinner this year. These students demonstrate what the holiday season is all about and that is giving back to the community and helping others.”

In addition, the students made placemats and centerpieces that will decorate the tables at the Convention Center where the citywide dinner takes place each year. Several Learning Tree families also plan to volunteer at the event on Thanksgiving Day.