CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A holiday tradition continued Friday in the Coastal Bend.
The city of Corpus Christi and H-E-B partnered up for the 34th annual H-E-B Feast of Sharing. The pandemic halted in-person celebrations, but 2022 was the year of its return.
"Walking in and seeing a room full people and tables that could feed so many in our community, being a part of that, for me personally it was emotional," H-E-B spokesperson Regina Garcia said.
All kinds of activities took place at the American Bank center for the event, including live performances, and photo opportunities. Arguably, the most important aspect that brought people together was the food.
"We are having a Texas style traditional meal. So, in years past it would be ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, a very holiday festive meal. Now we're going Texas style, amping it up a little bit. So, have brisket, sausage, beans, potatoes salad, bread and dessert," Garcia said.
H-E-B and its volunteers prepped to feed 10,000 people, a mission two young servers, Caleb Lara and Justin Arrevalo, were ready to accomplish.
"I feel great. I like when I help out people, it makes me feel good inside," said Lara. "They were saying thank you; saying Merry Christmas."
After all, gathering, giving and gratitude is what the holiday season is all about.
"It's a connection, it feels like we're all together," Lara added.
Even some couples showed up, with some differing views. Rose Castro Victor Garza cheered for opposing football teams. Castro is a Texans fan and Garza is a fan of the Cowboys.
"We bump heads." said Garza.
But for the holidays, they set their differences aside to enjoy each other's company.
According to their website, since 1989 H-E-B's Feast of sharing has invited people to celebrate the holidays. Corpus Christi isn't the only town celebrating the giving season with the event. The annual feast is actually held in more than 34 cities across the State and in Mexico. On average, the entire event serves more than 250,000 meals each year.
After 34 years of the event taking place, more than 375,000 volunteers have helped served nearly 4,000,000 meals. This effort is part of H-E-B's Hunger Relief Program which works year-round to prevent hunger in more than 300 communities it serves.