AUSTIN, Texas - As the holidays are approaching, for many families, this may be the first Thanksgiving they'll be spending with loved ones since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, on top of that, many families are still working to try and make ends meet.
On Saturday, groups in the community were working to address food insecurity concerns across Austin.
"For our community, it means helping each other no matter what we go through," said Ana Maciel, president of the AB Cantu Pan American Rec Center Advisory Board.
They were giving out 300 boxed Thanksgiving dinners as part of their annual Thanksgiving Dinner. They also had live music and were vaccinating those who are eligible.
Maciel says community is the lifeline for support. "Since we are a big family in this community, we are here to serve our community in any way that we can," she said.
At the Hands For Hope event, they were expected to help more than 1800 families.
"This is an amazing community that comes together to help those in need," said Rosamaria Murillo, Chief Executive Officer for El Buen Samaritano.
They were handing out full thanksgiving dinners, complete with a turkey and all the sides. They were also holding a vaccine clinic. Murillo said it's not only a day to help those in need, but a day to celebrate the love and support from the community.
"Think about it, it has been 18/19 months and we're still standing," she said. "And we're here to serve community and community has been here for us."
She added that even after the events, they're going to work to make sure everyone is taken care of.
"But after today we will continue to be here providing food access and access to basic needs for families," Murillo said.