AUSTIN, Texas - Volunteers with El Buen Samaritano Hands for Hope distributed more than 1,000 Thanksgiving meal kits Saturday to families in the community.
"For us, this is about two things, nourishment and love," Chief Executive Officer Dr. Rosamaria Murillo said.
Each kit has a turkey, sides, and a pie.
"We’re giving them this meal that they’ll take home, cook together, serve together, and gather together and we might not be sitting at that table that day, but in spirit we’re altogether sharing," Development Coordinator Georgia Hernandez said.
Hands for Hope started about 20 years ago with just a couple hundred meals of rice and beans. Today, it’s turned into a huge event as the need increases.
"When the pandemic started, we went from serving 100 families per week to 700 families per week and right now we are seeing the level of lines that come to El Buen to access food are the same number of families that used to come at the height of the pandemic," Dr. Murillo said.
"The need grows, but so do the people who want to serve and give back to people," Hernandez said.
About 200 volunteers didn’t let the rain stop them from celebrating and serving. "Many of the families that we’re serving here are hardworking families having to make choices between buying food, paying for gas, or paying their rent," Dr. Murillo said.
Dr. Murillo said her family has had to make some of those same decisions, so serving others now is a personal mission.
"I come from a first-generation Latino immigrant family and there were many times when other similar organizations like El Buen extended a hand when we had nothing," Dr. Murillo said.
Hands for Hope volunteers plan to distribute another thousand holiday meals in December to families in the community.