1000 bags of Thanksgiving groceries

One of the stories we have planned for the first issue of GoodCause is about Thanksgiving volunteering. Thanksgiving kicks off the season of giving, after all, and there are lots of opportunities around town to serve and feed needy folks on Turkey Day.

But we wanted to highlight other opportunities to give back around Thanksgiving, and we wanted to tell the story from the volunteer’s point of view.

So Torquil had the great idea of arming volunteers from a few events with disposable cameras, which would let them document their day. This past weekend, we gave cameras to three volunteers with El Buen Samaritano’s Thanksgiving Baskets event, which gives away Thanksgiving dinner to 1000 families, most of them non-native, Hispanic Americans.

El Buen’s event is different from most in that they give away the groceries – including the frozen turkey – rather than the cooked meal. Ivan Davila, community relations coordinator, told me this is to give the mother of the family the opportunity to fulfill her role as nurturer and caregiver. It also introduces these families to the uniquely Amercian holiday, complete with the traditional meal.

Bags and bags of Thankgiving groceries

HEB provides the turkeys, the groceries are donated or purchased with monetary donations, and Univision radio promotes and covers the event. This thing is huge. Don’t think for one minute that 1000 people show up to pick up their groceries. Most people bring the whole family, so now you’re talking about 3000+ folks, most between 9 and 11 am.

I gave cameras to two volunteers from State Farm, which came as a group, and another who had previous connections with El Buen. State Farm employee, Ed Rodriguez is married to a woman who works at El Buen, and he brought his baby daughter along. Dolores Foust from State Farm brought her husband Gary. And Tom Ball, who works with El Buen, brought his teenage son.

I can’t wait to get the photos back and talk to them about what it was like volunteering that day. I stayed and took some photos, too.

Ed Rodriguez and Victoria

We’re also working with CARITAS and a few Turkey Trot volunteers. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to set-up and work a fundraising 5K, and Turkey Trot’s one of the best-known races.

I’ll post some of their photos here, but the complete story will run in our first issue next quarter.

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