With the help of the Central Texas Food Bank, 532 turkey baskets were donated to Fort Hood families Nov. 20 at the Fort Hood Main Post Chapel for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We’re so grateful to be able to have this collaboration and be able to assist our men and women in uniform,” Denise Blok, chief operations officer for the Central Texas Food Bank, said.
The Onion Creek Community of south Austin partners with the Central Texas Food Bank to deliver turkeys, fresh produce, bread and desserts to the Soldiers each year. This year marked 11 years of their teamwork and generosity.
“We’re a small community that organized 11 years ago,” Ken Jacob, a volunteer coordinator from Onion Creek, said. “We just wanted to thank the troops for what they do and give them a little payback.”
With Onion Creek wanting to express their generosity, the chaplain’s office of Fort Hood graciously helped organize this gathering.
“The Chaplain Corps chief of chaplains has two missions, that’s community and people,” Staff Sgt. Jonathan Beasley, operations noncommissioned officer for the III Corps Chaplains Office, said. “We’re happy to help take care of the people of our community by helping facilitate events like this.”
The volunteers from Onion Creek, chaplains and religious affairs specialists from all Fort Hood units assisted with sorting and organizing goods and distributing them to pre-identified Soldiers and family members upon their arrival.
The process was organized to maximize efficiency and the flow of movement from the Soldier and/or family members arrival to their departure.
Each Fort Hood unit had their own individual tables set up with all the pre-packaged donated foods. Assistance was provided for individuals who needed help carrying their food items.
Soldiers arrived between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon to pick up their baskets. If Soldiers were unable to pick up their baskets by the specified times, due to mission, the Soldier’s dependents were authorized to pick up the baskets in place of the Soldier.
Many of the volunteers from Onion Creek are prior service military and know what it feels like to be in need during the holiday season.
“We see the Soldiers doing phenomenal things throughout the entire year, but we also know that sometimes around the holidays, they could use a little help,” Jacob said.
As the tables emptied and the smiling faces of many Soldiers and their dependents exited the parking lot, the Onion Creek Community, the Central Texas Food Bank and the Chaplain Corps declared this year’s holiday food basket distribution a success.