Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / Rivard Report
More than 2,500 H-E-B employees and community volunteers took to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Saturday to serve a free holiday feast to more than 15,000 members of the San Antonio community.
This marked the 24th annual H-E-B Feast of Sharing Celebration, a company tradition founded in 1989 which also takes place across other parts of Texas and Mexico, where H-E-B has inaugurated several stores. Currently, H-E-B operates more than 380 stores and 33 feasts are held in various locations, providing more than 250,000 meals to the community.
The Feast of Sharing is a part of H-E-B’s Food Bank Assistance Program, an initiative that works to prevent hunger.
On Thursday hundreds of H-E-B employees joined Meals on Wheels staff, who provide meals each weekday to homebound seniors in Bexar County, to prepare a holiday feast for more than 3,400 people who could not make it to the Saturday celebration.
“Today, we’re delivering the spirit of the holiday season and bringing the beloved Feast of Sharing tradition to the homes of those who may not be able to attend the feast this year,” H-E-B Public Affairs Manager Lacey Kotzur stated in a Thursday news release.
“H-E-B covers the cost of these meals and helps plate the food,” Kotzur told the Rivard Report. “Then we freeze it and next week it is delivered ahead of Christmas.”
Those who were able to make it to the Saturday event, whether they wanted camaraderie or a hot meal, were able to enjoy live music on the dance floor, arts and crafts activities for kids, and even a visit from Santa Claus.
“We come every year,” said attendee Lucy Diaz, who came with her children. “I always look forward to it because I used to work for H-E-B for 9 years, so I get to see my old managers.”
According to a news release, it takes hundreds of volunteers to prepare 3,750 pounds of glazed ham, 300 gallons of gravy, 3,750 pounds of mashed potatoes, 3,300 pounds of green beans, 15,000 dinner rolls, and 1,500 apple pies,”
Several nonprofit organizations were on-site to provide services for attendees such as eye screenings, flu shots, and phone calls. The San Antonio Food Bank also was on site to sign up individuals for programs they may qualify for.
VIA Metropolitan Transit offered free transportation service for attendees to and from the convention center – H-E-B covered the cost for anyone at any bus stop in the city who stated they were going to the feast.
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