Dayton church feeds DISD staff before school begins

Lisa Crowder (right), a teacher at Woodrow Wilson Junior High in Dayton, drops off a bag of food items as "admission" to a luncheon on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at the Dayton Community Center. Accepting the items on behalf of the FUMC-Dayton Food Pantry is Shelly Armstrong (left).

For 47 years, members of the Dayton United Methodist Church have hosted a meal for Dayton ISD staff to get them ready for the start of school. This year’s event, which hosted nearly 800 Dayton ISD employees, was held on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the Dayton Community Center.

Dayton ISD staff were treated to a taco salad meal, a choice of dozens of desserts, drinks and swag items from vendor booths set up in the community center lobby.

“Many years ago, it was the United Methodist Women who served this meal, and it was a potluck dinner. Now it has become a church-wide mission, spearheaded by First United Methodist Church of Dayton,” said DISD Superintendent Jessica Johnson, also a member of FUMC-Dayton. “I am really proud of our church and community for continuing this tradition. We have only missed one year and that was for the pandemic in 2020. We have retired teachers who come back and work at the event, even though they aren’t members of our church.”

Dana Burress (standing) smiles for the camera at the FUMC’s luncheon for Dayton ISD employees on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

Organizer for the event, Cindy Brawley-Scott, a former Dayton ISD teacher who now works for the FBI, added, “It is an honor and privilege for our congregation to serve the staff of the Dayton Independent School District. It is our church’s 47th year to do so. Many thanks to our wonderful sponsors for all of their support. Looking forward to next year!”

Jeff Nations, DISD athletic director and a spokesperson for the District, added, “We, as teachers, appreciate the gesture and look forward to this every year. As a member of First United Methodist Church, I also couldn’t be more proud of our church members. All the planning for this event starts well in advance of today, and they are chopping and cooking, and making desserts long before the luncheon.”

As a way of “paying it forward,” the teachers themselves have started their own tradition of bringing a bag of food items to donate to the FUMC Food Pantry, which feeds underprivileged people in the Dayton community.

“With the staff bringing canned foods and other items, the blessings will continue being paid forward, so it’s not only a wonderful thing for our District and our church, but for our community as well,” Dr. Johnson said.

The luncheon was sponsored by Alan D. and Mary Ellen Conner with AConner Realty, Allegiance Bank, Meadow Noyer AllState Insurance, Dayton City Councilman Andy Conner with Edward Jones Investments, Brookshire Brothers, Chambers County Abstract, Dusty Gatlin with Edward Jones Investments, First Liberty National Bank, Jose’s Mexican Restaurant, Kelsey Conner with JLA Realty, Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital, Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital, Leslie Herndon with Edward Jones Investments, Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center, Mainframe Wrecker Service, MobilOil Credit Union, OmniPoint Health, Pace-Stancil Funeral Home, Pappy’s Bar-Be-Que & Catering, PHYSIO, Prosperity Bank, Randel Arnold State Farm Insurance, Sherri Schmidt with Texas Diamond Realty, Tejas Power Sports, Vineyard Florist, Younique Affair and Western Auto.


  1. I bet there would have been many Veterans who would have enjoyed that meal. But of course, they are just veterans, not teachers. Must get ready to teach about genders. What about construction workers are they special too?

    • I bet when you or your organization feeds Veterans or Construction Workers, Bluebonnet will write about it and take pictures if you’ll just let them know!

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