Learning Tree students provide cranberries for Jimenez Dinner

Wanke ES students pose with pyramid of cans of cranberries
November 14, 2018

What is a Thanksgiving dinner without cranberries? Thanks to students from Northside ISD’s Learning Tree After-School Enrichment program there will be enough cranberries for the 25,000 guests expected at the 39th annual Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

For the fifth 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 7,000 cans of cranberries during the month of October.

All 79 Learning Tree sites and 20 Club LT middle school sites held can drives to collect cans from students, families, and school staff. When all the cans were counted, a whopping 18,855 cans had been collected.

In the canned drive contest, Wanke Elementary School took home first place in the large program category by collecting 653 cans, Leon Springs Elementary School took home first place in the medium program category by collecting 742 cans, Passmore Elementary School took home first place in the small school program category by collecting 272 cans, and Zachry Middle School took home first place in the middle school program category by collecting 224 cans.

Wanke ES students pose with pyramid of cranberry cans

Wanke ES won first place in the large program category.

Leon Springs students pose in front of school quilt with cans of cranberry sauce all around them

Leon Springs ES won first place in the medium program category.

Group of Passmore students sit on stage with cans of cranberry sauce; one tower is shape of number one

Passmore ES won first place in the small program category.

6 middle school students pose with cans of cranberries

Club LT at Zachry MS won the middle school program category.

“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.