The School Zone: News


Routines were upset on Thursday morning.

When parents picked up food for their students at three Spring Branch ISD meal distribution sites, they received something unexpected and extra: a family-sized serving of Four-cheese Macaroni and Cheese with Grilled Chicken from area restaurant, Warehouse 72

“I wanted to do a little something for the parents,” said Richard Howell, operating partner of Warehouse 72, located in the Mar-q complex in the Spring Branch area. “What a struggle it has been for them!”

Surprise and delight showed on parents’ faces when they received the gourmet, comfort food in to-go boxes with re-heating instructions included.

“This means I get to sit down and enjoy a hot meal tonight,” said SBISD parent Jennifer Palmer. She said there is not time in the evening to prepare a full meal after a day of working from home and trying to teach her kids for the past 10 weeks of COVID-19 confinement.

“This is definitely not a $2 frozen meal,” she said. 

Howell’s inspiration to donate 450 meals from his restaurant to SBISD families came during a meeting of the Spring Branch Management District when area businesses received encouragement to support the school district. 

“Everybody likes a bowl of mac and cheese!” he thought. “That is something we can do to help. Maybe something will good will come out of it.”


Spring Branch ISD is part of Howell’s heritage. He and his wife are 1985 alumni of the last class to graduate from Westchester High School. His first job in the restaurant business was as a young, bus boy at Brenner’s, the restaurant across the fence from his family’s back yard.

Child Nutrition Services (CNS) staff at the Tiger Trail food distribution location enjoyed seeing families get something extra on the last official day of the 2019-2020 school year.

“It is nice to let families know we are still thinking of them and doing all we can,” said CNS supervisor Anitra Fleming. “They really appreciate it.”

Parents find kids at home consuming more of a family’s food budget than before the pandemic. 

“We have been struggling,” said Brenda Vazquez, a mother of six SBISD students who attend Spring Woods High School and Buffalo Creek Elementary. “This [macaroni and cheese meal] really helps a lot.”

The CNS staff will continue to provide grab and go meals for students during the summer. This is a relief for families helped by free meal distributions during the spring semester, stay-at-home order.

Thank you, Warehouse 72, for the emotional (and delicious) lift given to 450 SBISD families. And to Richard Howell for support of “his” SBISD family.


If your business would like to partner with SBISD to support students, families and staff in tangible ways, please contact Abby Walker, Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships and Volunteers, at


Submitted by Becky Wuerth, SBISD Communications


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