Happy meal with a difference: Families enjoy Thanksgiving soup and salad slurp down

After school students present a reading about the significance of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings the nation together in gratitude, and each year the YMCA of South Collier (Marco) takes first dibs on the celebrations.

This past weekend in a packed Youth Development Center at the Y, pre- and after-schoolers provided entertainment centered around the blessings of food.

Appropriately, the next chapter was enjoying a sit-down, scrumptious meal of soup and salads, prepped partially by the students themselves.

The meal, Y officials have noted in previous years, may be more substantial than traditional meals some families in the area can actually afford on the real day.

Ashley Oats scopes out what's on offer at the meal counter with daughter Ava Allen.

But everybody who attends clearly enjoys the home-cooked food, the cheerful atmosphere and the youngsters' entertainment.

Brady Tubb's son Mason is a student at the Y's early learning center, and dad is more than impressed.

"He learns a lot every day, which is really appreciated," Brady said. "Ms Kelly, his teacher, is an angel and a godsend. We benefit from him being able to do this. The Y, and this one in particular, is fantastic."

The evening also showcased the Y's ongoing book fair, with lines and lines of books catching the attention of many of the younger ones.

Pictured is some of the action during the evening.

For more on the Y's wide variety of programs and activities for adults and children, visit marcoymca.org or call 394-YMCA (9622). Follow on Twitter at ymcamarco; on Facebook @marcoymca, and Instagram at ymcamarco.