Mission officials exemplified the spirit of the season last week as they provided food to 250 needy families in the city.
On Friday, Nov. 22, the Mission Crime Stoppers held their annual turkey giveaway to provide Thanksgiving meals to needy families in the city. The city of Mission and the Mission school district partnered with Mission Crime Stoppers for the event.
“During this time of year it’s supposed to be a blessing, you think about what we have such as shelter and friends and family and realize here in Mission we’re all family,” Mission Crime Stoppers Coordinator Robert Rodriguez said. “We are able to provide food to 250 families throughout the season. These are little things we take for granted sometimes and we’re lucky to participate in this for the community to benefit from.”
Families are selected to receive a 12 to 14-pound turkey and a sack containing items to provide the sides for a Thanksgiving meal such as bread rolls, vegetables, mac and cheese mix and more. The families are referred to the Mission Crime Stoppers by the Mission school district and the Community Development Block Grant Program based on the families’ amount of need and are then awarded a voucher to present to pick up their food.
“We began this program simply as a way of giving back to our community and the annual tradition has grown tremendously,” Rodriguez said. “We have partnered up with the City of Mission and the Rio Grande Valley Food Bank to make this holiday a memorable one for families that may have gone without a Thanksgiving dinner. It’s always better to give than to receive.”
The meals were prepared and organized by Mission Crime Stoppers who handed out the meals in a drive-thru fashion at the parking lot of the Mission Parks & Rec office for the second year in a row. The giveaway lasted two hours and started at 10 a.m. as families began lining up in their cars along 8th street, creating a line that stretched along 8th Street by the time the giveaway started. Within half an hour more than half of the meals had been picked up.
City officials such as City Manager Randy Perez, police Chief Roberto Dominguez and Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña were at the event helping distributing food.
“It’s a combined effort from all of us working here providing that spirit of giving,” Dominguez said. “It’s important for us to give back to the community. We’re public servants it’s important to help those in need. If we have the ability to take on this challenge, then we should take it seriously and help those in need. It’s beautiful to be part of this act of giving each year.”
Among the Mission residents who picked up a meal, one was a gentleman whose car began overheating as he waited in line to drive up and receive his meal. He had to park his car across the street and walked to the Parks & Rec office to pick up his meal in person.
“It’s a full meal for a family of 10,” the Mission resident said as he explained his need. “We have some other dishes we can make but this helps a lot. Usually more people will show up to the Thanksgiving dinner so it’s better to be prepared with more food.”
Rodriguez said each Thanksgiving meal that is given out is estimated to be worth $50.
“You meet some people who, if it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving meal,” Rodriguez said. “Once you see them opening the sack and seeing what’s in it, their faces light up-it’s priceless. They say they’re lucky to receive this, but we’re the lucky ones for being in a position to help out.”
This article originally appeared in the Friday Nov. 29, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.