VERNON, Texas (TNN) - The Holiday Spirit Meal program saw an increase in the number of people needing help for a Thanksgiving meal this year due to the pandemic.
This year 868 meals were delivered, which doesn’t include the ones picked up by Vernon residents at the Wilbarger Memorial Auditorium. Holiday Spirit Meal provides free meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day since 1987.
“We’ve had a remarkable turnout of those that are delivering and willing to step up to just do anything we ask them to. We have volunteers this year that we’ve never had before,” said Sharon Goins, coordinator of Holiday Spirit Meal.
The traditional meal included turkey, ham, fruit salad, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, and bread. Goins said the menu was worked on since June or July. This year because of the pandemic, the program changed to either delivery or carry out rather than eating at the auditorium.
One delivery driver, Ruben Hinojosa, has volunteered for years and wore a Hawaiian shirt as a gesture to one of the founders of Holiday Spirit Meal. Pat and Glenna Bryant started the tradition and passed it to Billy and Sharon Goins.
“It’s just the sense of giving of our time to those less fortunate and delivering a good meal,” said Hinojosa.
Dorothy Westerman and Mark Davidson said they were grateful for receiving the meals. This is their first time receiving a Holiday Spirit Meal. Their Thanksgiving plans were changed by the pandemic. They usually travel to Colorado for the holiday but instead will be at home watching football.
“We’re saddened that we don’t get to see the family but we do get to see them on Facebook or messenger. Not the same but we thank the Lord for the help and for the Thanksgiving dinner,” said Westerman.