Complete with an overflowing parking lot and lines stretching down the sidewalk Tuesday, H-E-B’s sixth annual Feast of Sharing was its most successful to date.
The event offered free holiday meals to community members, paired with live music and visits with Santa Claus.
H-E-B expected more than 5,000 people to attend Tuesday evening, said Steve McKinney, Killeen store director and chairman for the event.
“We’ve had a very good turnout,” he said. “Each year has been better than the last.”
The Killeen Civic and Conference Center is one of the best facilities they work with, said Jeff Thomas, senior vice president and general manager of H-E-B’s Central Texas region.
In total, H-E-B hosts 32 Feasts of Sharing annually across Texas and Mexico in the months of November and December.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community that gives so much to us,” Thomas said. The dinner is part of the “family values of H-E-B. We’re always looking for ways to contribute to the community.”
The dinners began in 1982 in Laredo and Corpus Christi.
Therese Tankson handed out soft drinks to an appreciative crowd, for the second year in a row. She is a member of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, whose focus is service to the community.
“This year is fabulous,” she said. “And last year was the same way. It’s H-E-B’s way of giving back, and I think it’s awesome. Nobody’s going to leave here hungry.”
Guests enjoyed ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables and apple pie, all delivered directly to their tables, which were piled high with tiny Christmas trees and wrapped gift boxes, adding to the festive spirit in the air. More than 700 volunteers assisted in the smooth dinner service, which ran from 4 to 8 p.m.
It was Burdeen Bell’s second year taking part in the feast. A resident of Killeen the past 61 years, Bell was happy to receive a meal from her favorite store.
“I went in to get two or three things the other day,” she said, and exited having bought significantly more. “I think it’s great.”