Funds From Canceled Thanksgiving Day Parade Used To Feed 5,000 Families In Houston

For the first time in over 70 years, the Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade has been canceled as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But the money that would usually go toward funding the grand event was certainly not wasted.

As Chron reported, this year's parade was replaced with a drive-thru food bank which saw thousands of local families receive all the ingredients necessary to make a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for their loved ones.

The free "Family Thanksgiving Distribution" event was sponsored by such companies as H-E-B, Reliant, Cigna, and the Houston Food Bank.

On November 21, families pulled up to NRG Park in Houston where volunteers packed their cars with a box of groceries to help them prepare their own Thanksgiving meals.

Each box contained turkey, ham, stuffing, rolls, potatoes, carrots, onions, gravy, rice, as well as a few desserts — all the ingredients necessary for a traditional family feast.

The food drive was hosted as a drive-thru event to ensure safe social distancing.

Volunteers who helped load the groceries into families' cars wore face masks, and city officials were also on site to hand out masks, hand sanitizer, and thermometers.

The event proved so popular with locals that cars were reportedly lined up around the block. Some drivers even arrived at 1 a.m., well before the 8 a.m. start time, to ensure they received a box.

H-E-B Director of Public Affairs Lisa Helfman said the event was "quite humbling" for all those involved.

"If you can imagine the need for someone to come in that early for their family to have a Thanksgiving meal, we're happy we can be here," she told Chron. "Times are tough right now during the pandemic. It's a different level than anything we've ever seen before."

Houston Food Bank president Brian Greene agreed, adding that "hundreds of thousands" of families are still struggling during these unprecedented times.

"I’m glad we’re here to help," he said, "but I really look forward to the day they don’t need us for this."

Organizers estimate that they were able to dole out the Thanksgiving meal boxes to 5,000 families during the event.

h/t: Chron, KHOU

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