KISD/TODD MARTIN - Eastern Hills Middle School eighth-graders work alongside soldiers and other volunteers Nov. 17 during the Food for Families drive, which benefits the Killeen Food Care Center and other area food pantries. This year, 36 members of the school’s Builders Club helped sort and box donated food items at the Killeen Special Events Center. - - -

By Krista M. Madkins

Harker Heights Herald

A vehicle pulled into the Harker Heights fire station bay. The driver rolled down his window, showed his ID to Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Gallenstein and received a Thanksgiving food basket.

The scene repeated itself over and over Monday as the fire department and the Harker Heights Lions Club handed out Thanksgiving food baskets for 236 people.

"The basket includes a turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, dinner rolls and cranberry sauce," said Mary Ho, the current secretary and treasurer of the Lions Club.

The fire department has provided the Thanksgiving baskets for 20 years.

"The Harker Heights Lions Club stepped up to help when we lost our volunteers," said Gallenstein. "They've been doing it with us for three years."

The event focuses on low-income families in the city. Those who received a basket filled out an application. They had to supply proof of residency, proof of income, have a Texas ID or license, and provide birth certificates for children listed on the applications.

"I'm so thankful for this because without it, we wouldn't have Thanksgiving this year because we can't afford it," said a basket recipient, who asked to remain anonymous.

Gallenstein said the need in the community has risen about 20 percent. Last year the department served 168 people, making up 52 families.

The cost of providing the baskets also climbed.

"It cost about $1,600 this year to feed 72 families and we could not have done it without the support of the citizens of Harker Heights," said Gallenstein.

Contact Krista M. Madkins at kmadkins@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468.

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