HOUSTON – Earlier this week, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the city’s annual Thanksgiving parade was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In lieu of this year’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the City of Houston is instead hosting the H-E-B Family Thanksgiving Distribution Saturday at NRG Park.
“With the dramatic rise in unemployment since the onset of Covid-19, many in the Houston community are dealing with extremely difficult times,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a release. “In this environment, the tradition of Thanksgiving seems like an impossibility. In response to the need for tradition, Thanksgiving festivities have been re-envisioned to focus a time to give thanks.”
The drive-through, first come, first serve food distribution, which began at 8 a.m. Saturday, will end at 2:00 p.m., or when product has been depleted.
By 9 a.m. Saturday, cars could be seen lined up around NRG Park. According to organizers, the first individual in line arrived around 1 a.m., some 7 hours before the event was set to begin.
In a release, the city said the food distribution event will provide 5,000 families, an estimated 20,000+ individuals, with face masks, hand sanitizers, thermometers, and items needed to prepare a time-honored Thanksgiving feast, including turkey, ham, corn, beans, stuffing, gravy mix, potatoes, cranberries, rolls, and pies.
H-E-B is the event’s title sponsor.
“H-E-B is thankful for the privilege to help preserve the Thanksgiving tradition of dinner around the table and spread a little joy with a traditional Thanksgiving feast for all members of our community regardless of their circumstances during these challenging times,” Lisa Helfman, Public Affairs Director, H-E-B Houston, said in a release.