WESLACO — Volunteers spent Friday afternoon hanging decorations, arranging poinsettias and setting hundreds of places at tables inside St. Joan of Arc Parish hall in preparation to feed an estimated 4,000 residents. Other volunteers began slicing hundreds of hams and defrosting stacks of pies before cooking will begin in earnest Saturday morning.

Saturday marks H-E-B’s final Feast of Sharing in its border region, and by the end of the day, it will have served nearly 44,000 warm holiday meals in nine communities spanning from Del Rio to Port Isabel. On the menu will be ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and pie — all free.

Table placings a readied during preparations for the annual Feast of Sharing at the St. Joan of Arc parish hall on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, in Weslaco. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

“The Feast of Sharing is a hunger relief program and it’s intended to help families that are struggling, especially during the winter break,” said Yvonne Loflin, senior public affairs specialist for H-E-B’s border region. “We understand that children aren’t going to school so they may not have a hot meal, and holidays are also a time when people are trying to make ends meet.”

Now in its 29th year, the grocery chain’s annual program distributes more than 250,000 meals in 30 communities across Texas and northern Mexico between November and December.

“It’s also to tell our customers that we appreciate them and to let them know that if wasn’t for them supporting us all year we couldn’t be who we are and do what we do,” Loflin said of the event, noting the chain gives 5 percent of its profits to the charitable programs it supports.

Friday’s volunteers were H-E-B partners, many from its stores in the Mid-Valley area, and they will be joined Saturday by students from Weslaco East High School and Weslaco High School as well as local parishioners to cook and serve the meals.

 

IF YOU GO

WHERE: St. Joan of Arc Parish

200 S. Illinois Ave.

Weslaco, TX 78596

WHEN: Doors open at 10:30 a.m. and the event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

COST: The event is free of charge and open to the public