H-E-B is on a roll serving up food and fun at its 25th Annual Feast of Sharing celebration
If you’ve ever planned a holiday dinner for extended family and friends, you know that this dinner is no small undertaking. Would you even consider hosting such an event if the guest list included 250,000 people? For most, the answer is a definite, no. But for Danny Flores the answer is an enthusiastic, YES!
Danny is the senior public affairs manager for H-E-B, one of the largest independent food retailers in the nation and a generous supporter of Feeding America member food banks in the U.S., and also food banks in Mexico. Danny organizes H-E-B’s annual Feast of Sharing Celebration, a two-month road trip completed by two H-E-B Mobile Kitchen Units. The Feast of Celebration helps Feeding America food banks in Texas meet the need, by helping provide food-insecure Texans with festive food and holiday cheer.
Just one of many hunger-relief efforts that H-E-B supports, a typical Feast of Sharing dinner includes: 3,000 pounds of sliced turkey, 2,500 pounds of cornbread dressing, 750 pumpkin pies, 380 gallons of mashed potatoes, 140 gallons of turkey gravy, and 95 gallons of cranberry sauce. The largest event is in San Antonio, Texas, home of H-E-B headquarters, where 17,000 attendees are personally served in four hours. Food is the centerpiece, but H-E-B makes the event a full, regionally unique holiday celebration with music, arts and crafts, kids’ activities and even a visit from Santa. No two dinners are alike!
The Feast of Sharing is a huge effort that comes together with the help of many people along the way including, hundreds of volunteers and local social service agencies.
“The continued fight against hunger is the primary goal for hosting our Feast of Sharing dinners. An added benefit is the enjoyment our employees and volunteers receive from giving back to the community,” said Danny. “We can only hope each citizen feels as special as we do being able to serve them during the holidays.”
As of November 2014, a newly designed 57 foot mobile kitchen was added to the fleet of H-E-B vehicles to assist with catering the holiday dinners. Together, with the original fully-equipped 45 foot kitchen, this duo can be seen on Texas roads throughout the year. In addition to being utilized during the Feast of Sharing Dinners, the H-E-B Mobile Kitchens bring food, water and other supplies to communities in need during H-E-B’s disaster-relief efforts.
The Feast of Sharing is focused on H-E-B’s neighbors in Texas and Mexico, where the company supports food banking through Feeding America (U.S.) and Banco de Alimentos de Mexico (BAMX; formerly AMBA).
H-E-B is a long-time partner and supporter of Feeding America through funding to support the network’s learning conferences, product donations in times of disaster and food and grocery donations from its stores to Texas food bank members and their partner meal programs and food pantries.
“It’s inspiring to be associated as well as recognized by state and national organizations that are also working to fight hunger. It feels good to know H-E-B’s hunger relief efforts are evident across the nation and that other corporations are joining the fight,” said Danny.
H-E-B has been committed to fighting hunger since their very beginning when founder, Florence Butt, recognized the need - as well as the responsibility - to serve others. The H-E-B motto passed down through the generations is simple: “There’s a need. Find it.”
*Diane Letson is the director of product sourcing, retail partnerships at Feeding America.
**Photos courtesy of H-E-B.