BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Since 2008, Carol Weatherton has cooked at Tennie Russell Primary School, feeding families and students Thanksgiving meals in the cafeteria.

Meals were served Tuesday-Thursday morning, allowing two classes at a time. 

“It felt good eating with my sister because, you know, family bonding, and it’s good to have it at the school. So, you have family bonding at home and at the school to get all together united,” said Serenity Stuckey. 

Serenity Stuckey and her mother came to the school to eat with Sienna. 

“It was really good. She really liked the mashed potatoes and the peach cobbler,” Stuckey said. 

Employees of the school district such as the maintenance and tech department also visit the school during this time to grab a hot thanksgiving meal. 

The students and guests had turkeys, dressing, cobbler, and much more. 

Weatherton, the kitchen manager at Tennie Russell Primary School, was cooking all of this since 1 a.m. 

She told the story of a man coming up to her with tears in his eyes.

“He thanked me so much and he said, ‘This is the first traditional Thanksgiving I’ve had with my family, you know, and I guess we take it for granted,’” Weatherton said. 

Besides cooking, Weatherton also served the food with the help of Visit Bentonville. 

Drinks such as sweet tea and unsweet tea and lemonade donated by Hiland Dairy were self-served.

They also donated heavy cream, so that she could make homemade butter.

They serve themselves the drinks, Highlands Dairy. They donated sweet tea, unsweet tea and lemonade and bottles. So, we don’t have to worry about that. And then they donate heavy cream so I can make homemade butter. 

Weatherton says she expected to feed 250 people Thursday. And in total, she feeds about 700-750 people.

“I always plan on at least 700 when I order,” she said. 

Weatherton says she loves seeing her idea come to life each year.

“I love this school, and I love to make people smile. You know, these kids are so special.”