‘Tis the season to help the hungry in Austin

Feast of Sharing - Marc Suarez/KXAN

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Thursday kicks off a week of free meals for those who go hungry in the Austin community leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The week of giving is put on by various organizations and non-profits around the city. The need around the holidays is great. The chief development officer with the Capital Area Food Bank says they serve 46,000 people a week, but even with donations it is not even close to the amount of people in need. One in four children are facing hunger.

The food bank wants to use these dinners as an educational opportunity for people to see that this problem is much bigger than just the holiday season.

Feast of Sharing - Marc Suarez/KXAN
Feast of Sharing – Marc Suarez/KXAN

“Quite frankly it’s just not enough. If we were to really do what we needed to do, we’d be distributing over 45 million pounds of food a year so the community needs to come together to help us grow to meet that need and I think once people know more about how pervasive this issue really is, they really will step up and help us get there,” said Mark Jackson with the Capital Area Food Bank

Jackson hopes to encourage people to continue giving year round

“This time of the year is when we get a lot of first time donors, we get a lot of people that come learn about hunger relief and want to be a part of it. Definitely part of our job is explaining that this is a year round issue and we love to get sustaining donors. People that come in and donate every month, that’s a huge help for us,” Jackson said.

Here is a list of the free meals this week:

Thursday November 19, 2015:
Community Thanksgiving Dinner
November 19 from 5-7 p.m.   |   Virginia L. Brown Recreation Center, 7500 Blessing Ave., Austin
Free and open to the public.

Pickle Elementary School
November 19 from 5-7 p.m.   | School Cafeteria, 1101 Wheatley, Austin
The school provides an annual Thanksgiving meal for the community. Donations such as sides, drinks, and desserts are accepted but not required.

Saturday November 21, 2015:
The Helping Hands Center – Harvest of Hope Thanksgiving Meal and Winter Clothing Giveaway
November 21 from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.   |   Olivet Baptist Church, 1179 San Bernard St, Austin
Annual Harvest of Hope event offering a Thanksgiving meal to the community, plus adult winter clothing giveaway, including sweatshirts and wool caps at the event.

AB Cantu Pan-American Recreation Center Thanksgiving Meal
November 21 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. |   2100 E 3rd St, Austin
Free Thanksgiving meal for the community.

Rosewood Zaragosa Neighborhood Center
November 21 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.   |   2800 Webberville Rd, Austin
Free and open to the public.

Dove Springs Recreation Center’s Community Dinner
November 21 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.   |   5801 Ainez Dr., Austin
Free and open to the public.

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Thanksgiving Meal
November 21 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.   |   14311 Wells Port Dr, Austin
Free Thanksgiving meal to the community each year. Attendees are asked to call before the event to RSVP (512-251-0698).

Sunday November 22, 2015:
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and Celebration
November 22 at 3 p.m.   |   7501 Blessing Ave., Austin
Free, family-friendly, all are welcome. Reception follows the prayer service and all are welcome to bring a dish to share.

Tuesday November 24, 2015:


H-E-B Feast of Sharing
November 24 from 4-8 p.m.   |   Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd., Austin
Join in the festivities and experience the joy with a holiday meal and good cheer at the annual H E B Feast of Sharing holiday dinner. The Feast of Sharing is the culmination of a year round commitment H E B makes to fighting hunger. In addition to a holiday meal, you can enjoy music, arts and crafts, kids activities, and even an appearance by Santa.

Church Community Thanksgiving Meal (Blanco)
November 24 at 6:30 p.m.   |   Trinity Lutheran Church, 703 Main St., Blanco
Free and open to the public.

Wednesday November 25, 2015:
Baptist Community Center Thanksgiving Dinner
November 25 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.   |   2000 E 2nd St, Austin
Free Thanksgiving meal for the community.

Salvation Army Thanksgiving Meal
November 25 from 12-4 p.m.   |   Salvation Army’s main location, 501 E 8th St, Austin
Free annual Thanksgiving meal for the community.

Thursday November 26, 2015:
North Austin Christian Church
November 26 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.   |   1734 Rutland Dr, Austin
Free Thanksgiving meal for the community.

12th Annual Feast of Giving
November 26 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.   |   St. Louis Catholic Church, Wozniak Hall, 7601 Burnet Rd., Austin
Free and open to the public. Twelve years ago, Parish Social Ministries started the tradition of feeding needy brothers and sisters a great Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day. The last few years, over 800 individuals have been served annually with over 150 volunteers. The act of sharing not only allows volunteers to give of themselves to others, but brings the true meaning of this holiday to those who receive the meals. If you would like to volunteer for this ministry, the Social Ministry team could use at least two and a half hours of your time on Thanksgiving Day or the night before. For additional information on volunteering, please contact Bea Dela Rosa at 512-454-0384 extension 265 or bea.delarosa@st-louis.org.

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