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Real Family Dinner Projects: The Elder Family

Posted on: October 2nd, 2017 by Bri DeRosa

Kathy Elder is a teacher from Evansville, Indiana who connected with The Family Dinner Project to help provide resources to her students and their families. Here, we catch up with Kathy to learn more about what family dinners look like at her house!

The Family:

Kathy Elder, her 21-year-old daughter, and her father, Floyd, 73. The Elders hail from Evansville, Indiana.

The Goal:

Kathy explains that family dinner is “something I’ve always done,” so at this point, her routine at home is settled. What she hopes to do now is to inspire her students and their families to have more frequent and meaningful meals.

The Challenge:

In the Elder household, timing is often the biggest challenge to be overcome, as Kathy’s daughter is in college and has her own schedule to keep. It’s a challenge shared by many of the families at the school where Kathy teaches, along with popular misconceptions about dinnertime — it’s too much of a burden on Mom or Dad every night, family dinner “doesn’t count” if it’s not a home-cooked meal, it’s too hard to find foods everyone will enjoy — that she tries to dispel through her work.

The Strategies:

To help combat the anxiety and stress that may be keeping families from the table, Kathy takes a proactive approach with her school community. She teaches her students to prepare easy, healthy items, which they share at a Family Dinner tasting booth during the school’s family fun night each year. Along with the food, Kathy and her students hand out recipes and model conversation starters and games that families can use when they eat together. She also teaches her students — and reinforces with their families — the importance of family dinners, making sure that everyone knows why eating together on a regular basis is beneficial to all members of the household.

The Food:

We asked Kathy what the favorite dinners are in her household. Her answer was pot roast, followed by spaghetti for her daughter, and her father’s favorite fried chicken. They also all enjoy this easy White Chicken Chili recipe!

The Takeaway:

Family dinner has been a constant in the Elder house, and Kathy hopes to keep leading by example in her school community so more families can enjoy the benefits of shared meals.

The Best Part:

“The time to keep up with each other’s lives,” Kathy says.

Do you have your own family dinner project to share with us? We’d love to hear from you and consider featuring your family! Contact Us.