Thanksgiving Pie Distribution: Houston, Texas
Every Thanksgiving, businesses like Walmart, and volunteer organizations in Houston, TX, coordinate with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson’s office to contribute various food items so that low-income families, seniors and veterans in the Fifth Ward may enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal. The North and South Houston Sai Centers usually participate in this Thanksgiving service, and, in 2019, helped distribute 1,008 pies to residents of the Fifth Ward.
Planning for this event began in early November when members contacted various grocery stores to solicit their help in supplying the pies. On the morning of November 26th, Sai volunteers drove to the local Kroger grocery store in Katy, Texas, and loaded boxes of pies into several vehicles with assistance from the store staff. The pies were then transported to 7 different locations for distribution. At each location, Congresswoman Jackson made a personal appearance to wish the recipients a good holiday season and to acknowledge the contributions of the various volunteer organizations present. A representative from the Sai organization was also invited to speak to the audience. In all, over 600 families received the pies. At each location, about 3 to 10 Sai volunteers personally handed out the pies and interacted with the families.
Gayathri Ballingam, a Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) student, who participated in the event reflected on her experience:
“Participating in the pie distribution service was an amazing experience. In just a couple of hours, it taught me so much about giving back to the community and has fostered a new appreciation for the ordinary things I have been blessed with. The synergy between different volunteer organizations to facilitate the food distribution to the residents was eye-opening as I observed many individuals work together seamlessly to ensure the families could enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.”