Friends Bar hosts ‘Friendsgiving’ for homeless community

Downtown Austin was fairly quiet on Thursday due to the holiday, but one Sixth Street bar decided to keep its doors open. 

Staff at Friends Bar hosted a ‘Friendsgiving,' handing out warm meals and free clothes to the homeless community.

"I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer; it’s a great way to spend Thanksgiving," said Elyse Ryan, a volunteer. "It feels nice to connect with people and spend the day doing what you can."

Kitchen Manager Jorge Trejo came up with the idea and brought it to Tommy Burghardt, who manages Friends Bar. "I told him what my plan was and he was like, ‘Let’s go for it, let’s give it a try,'" said Trejo. "We got a lot of good feedback and a lot of volunteers." 

They whipped up 200 meals to hand out to the homeless and partnered with a local nonprofit to provide clothing. People could also come inside, enjoy some live music and get a free meal by donating.

"As soon as we opened we had people here, people that came in to just have a drink and have been donating and what not so it’s been a really good time," said Burghardt.

For Trey Brewington, who is homeless, Thursday brought a little bit of holiday cheer after losing all of his belongings a few weeks ago.

"I got a plate, got some hot cocoa and some good apple pie, it’s awesome," said Brewington. "The only plans I had were to just enjoy the day, thank God for another Thanksgiving and find something to eat, and the food came to me." 

Burghardt said they plan to host a similar event for Christmas next month.

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