This year, there were several special guests of honor at Milford Elementary School’s annual Friendship Meal — soldiers and veterans.

Before starting the annual, pre-break Thanksgiving meal Friday, students and staff at Milford Elementary School active duty soldiers and veterans before tucking in to the feast.

According to fifth grade teacher Becky Keim who helped plan the annual event, there are a large number of military-impacted children at Milford Elementary School.

“Usually, we try and do something in November with Veterans Day and because our school has such a high percentage of students that either their parents have served or are serving or their families work on (Fort Riley),” she said.

It just seemed, she said, like a good time to recognize those who serve or who have served.

They see the families of soldiers every day, even when those soldiers are deployed, she said. The school honored them Friday at their annual Thanksgiving celebration, but also work to serve their children and families all throughout the year.

“It’s a challenge, it’s a lot, but it’s what we can do to serve the soldiers that are serving for us,” Keim said.

The children played an active role in preparing the yearly feast. Each classroom brought different supplies to make the meal happen, according to Principal Phyllis Boller.

“The kindergarten made all of the pies, actually,” she said. “So that’s, that’s where the friendship comes in. We all pitched in together to create this meal.”

Members of the Milford community also helped out, including members of the Lions Club.

Tons of volunteer hours were poured into making the event happen.

According to Boller, more parents than children were present for the feast. In addition to students and family members, local daycares brought their charges to the school for the event.

This culture of community support is what matters most to Boller.

The school and its volunteers expected to feed somewhere between 250 and 300 people at the meal, she said.

“We have just a tremendous support for our community,” Boller said.

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