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Operation TURKEY

Pct. 3 residents receive free Thanksgiving meals

Precinct 3 Bridges & Roads employees delivered 200 meals Wednesday morning as part of Operation Turkey, where families in need receive a Thanksgiving meal. Commissioner Everardo ‘Ever’ Villarreal joined the staff to hand-deliver turkey, stuffing, and sides across western Hidalgo County.

Progress Times photo by Maria Ruiz.

“These families were selected by Laura Ibanez, our community outreach coordinator, in conjunction with the school districts,” said Pct 3. Deputy Chief of Staff Anibal Resendez inside the Pct. 3 meeting hall. “We know firsthand that the families we are visiting today have been impacted.”

He then continued, addressing the workers and staff.

“They’ve received some sort of assistance from the county, so they’re already in our system. They’re families we have worked very closely with.”

Thirteen trucks loaded up and drove to homes in Mission, Alton, Peñitas, Palmhurst, Palmview, and La Joya from 8 am to noon.

Among the 200 families is Maria Gonzalez, a breast cancer survivor. Due to her treatment, the Mission resident was unable to pay for utilities and sought precinct-based assistance programs.

“I stopped working because of my cancer,” said Gonzalez, who has been out of work for 3 years. “Thank God I’m in remission. It’s been 5 years.”

Progress Times photo by Maria Ruiz.

But with this act from the Precinct, Gonzalez and her 82-year-old mother will have a Thanksgiving meal.

“It’s thanks to him that we are going to have this dinner,” she said.

The Huerta family, who has also recieved aid from the Precinct’s Power Up Generator Program, got a meal that morning.

Nine-year-old Faith Huerta, who happily clapped and bounced in her wheelchair, couldn’t be more excited to recieve a meal from the Precinct.

“I’m so happy that [they] came,” said Faith.

Her mother, Sandra, said she now looks forward to celebrating closely with her family, which includes her two older children, and hospice staff that care for her three adoptive children.

“I want to give thanks for everything we’ve been blessed with, for my children, the harmony of our family,” said Sandra.

Commissioner Villarreal said that projects like these are personal to him and his staff.

“It’s something very special when you get to meet a family that is in need and we’re able to help,” he said. “It’s really something that helps our employees and ourselves get closer together, work together, and know that we all care.”

He then continued, not only wanting to impact residents through utility projects but personal ones.

“Not just for our roads and lighting, and everything that we do day to day, but our families, to create unity and get a stronger community together.”

The Precinct hosts a sit-down community dinner at the Pct. 3 Pavillion, welcoming constituents from across the area to unite and spend the holidays together today.

“Because of COVID, we kind of lost touch, sitting together and having a meal,” he said. “We’re going to be doing the cooking, and doing the serving to be able to continue [to serve] those families we might not have been able to reach today. Hopefully, they can come have dinner.”

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