HEB dishes out Christmas feast to Wacoans

By Hannah Neumann
Staff Writer

As a celebration of the holiday season and part of their effort to combat hunger, H-E-B will host its 25th annual Feast of Sharing dinner, with food, fun and festive entertainment for community residents on Thursday
H-E-B’s Feast of Sharing will be located at the Extraco Events Center, 4601 Bosque Blvd. from 4 to 8 p.m.

“It’s the highlight of our hunger relief efforts, but it’s also a really great way to thank our customers and community for shopping with us,” said Tamra Jones, coordinator of the dinner. “We have created a really fun environment by providing holiday entertainment as well.”

Jones said there will be an arts and craft area for children and Santa will be taking last-minute Christmas wishes. There will be performances by a variety of local singing groups, including an Elvis impersonator, The Underwoods, Waco Civic Theatre Entertainers, St Paul Lutheran Choir, Midway High School Choir and New Jerusalem Worship Center Choir as well as a ceremonial presentation by a Navy Color Guard and Pastor Butch Duty.

Jones said the idea originated in Corpus Christi and Laredo in 1989 with community partner Eddie Garcia.

“We held those two first dinners as we felt the need to celebrate the holiday with our customers and as a way for folks that didn’t have a place to go for the holidays,” she said. “Since then it has grown to 32 locations across the state and in Mexico and has really turned into a celebration.”

The event is open to the public at no cost.

“We encourage anyone and everyone to come out,” Jones said. “Again we really want to reach the folks who may not have a place to go for the holidays and give them a hot meal and have them celebrate with music and fun. We hope college students and families; maybe if mom or dad doesn’t want to cook that night they’ll come out and join us.”

Fifteen-hundred pounds of sliced turkey; 1,200 pound of stuffing; 1,500 pounds of mashed potatoes; 1,320 pounds of vegetable medley; 120 gallons of brown gravy; 600 pies; 6,000 dinner rolls and soft drinks will be served. Aside from H-E-B’s contribution from their mobile kitchen, there will be items from sponsors such as Dr Pepper, Borden and Mrs. Baird’s.

Also with the event, hundreds of H-E-B Partners and community volunteers will work together to prepare and serve more than 6,000 meals to residents of Waco that day for Meals on Wheels clients.

Jones said H-E-B is looking for volunteers to aid in the event and delivery process and encourage those interested to call the volunteer hotline at 254.662.2595.

Austin freshman Adora Choquette said she heard about the event and considered attending, but decided to volunteer instead.

“I’m fortunate that I have a home for the holidays with family and a hot meal and I recognize my privilege,” she said. “And I recognize the poverty in Waco and around the world, and I want to be able to give something of myself to them.”

Jones said H-E-B feels proud to be able to express their gratitude to customers and their families through the event.

“It hits one of our main initiatives to feed the needy but we also feel really proud to be able to share this time with the community.”