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Monthly lunch connects parents with school

After eating cafeteria food, Matt Johnson catches up with his kindergartner son, Jaedan. He also spent some quality time with his two other children at Snoqualmie Elementary School’s monthly FEAST day event. “The kids get excited about it. They look forward to having us here,” Johnson said. - Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record
After eating cafeteria food, Matt Johnson catches up with his kindergartner son, Jaedan. He also spent some quality time with his two other children at Snoqualmie Elementary School’s monthly FEAST day event. “The kids get excited about it. They look forward to having us here,” Johnson said.
— image credit: Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Matt Johnson, father of three, flashed back to his childhood as he munched on a barbecue patty on a bun, washed down with a half-pint of milk from a bright turquoise tray in Snoqualmie Elementary School’s cafeteria.

He had joined his three children, a kindergartner, a second-grader, and fourth-grader, for the school’s FEAST, or Families Eat at School Together, program. The last Thursday of each month, the school invites families to lunch with their children.

What do the grown-ups think about eating school cafeteria grub after all those years?

“Well, I think the food’s better now. It’s more healthy,” Johnson said.

FEAST isn’t really about the food, though. It’s all about getting parents involved in the school.

“The kids get excited about it. They look forward to having us here,” Johnson said.

“It’s fun,” agreed his kindergartner son, Jaedan.

FEAST day has been happening for years, said Principal Cori Pflug.

“The idea was just promoting the parent-community involvement, so parents have another avenue for connecting with us at school besides the typical curriculum nights, or PTSA or conferences,” Pflug said.

She added that the program is very popular.

“Most parents have it on their calendar,” she said. “Parents come in who can’t do regular volunteering because of work, but they are able to make time once in a while. It gets them in to connect with their children and feel like they’re part of the school in general.”

Sunitha Rajaram makes a point to eat with her second-grade daughter, Ishna, every month.

“It’s nice to see all the parents here, and you get to see how the kids eat their lunch,” she said.

Rajaram also uses it as an opportunity to do something special.

“Usually I make her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but today I brought sushi for her,” she said.

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