In honor of Thanksgiving and Veterans Day, the Dallas Mavericks joined forces with Kroger and 30 members of the 301st Fighter Wing and the 136th Airlift Wing at the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid to distribute Thanksgiving meals to 300 Dallas families served by Buckner. This event is part of the annual Season of Giving, marking the tipoff with the Mavs Turkey Giveaway, sponsored by Kroger.
Buckner and the Dallas Mavericks have collaborated on this event since 2009.
Thanksgiving is a time for coming together with loved ones and reflecting on the blessings in our lives. But for some families facing economic hardship or even celebrating together as a new family, this festive holiday can bring new stress or emotions.
Those who received the meals are all participants in local Buckner programs such as Buckner Family Pathways®, NextStep and foster care and adoption families. Many of these families regularly attend Buckner-hosted food distributions in East Dallas.
Turkeys and more were distributed to families by Dallas Mavericks players, staff and other community partners to families served by Buckner
Kroger provided meals including a frozen turkey, as well as a full set of sides and desserts, packed in reusable bags. The bags were assembled by Kroger employees, members of the Texas Air National Guard, Dallas Maverick cheerleaders and Mavs ManiACCs, the Mavericks' male-performance squad.
“It’s the best part of my job,” said Steve Watson, director of aid and assistance for Buckner. “A lot of these families are not going to have a special meal for Thanksgiving, if not for this. It’s a great partnership. It’s the 15th year we’ve been doing this.”
Dallas Mavericks players Dwight Powell, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jaden Hardy and Dante Exum greeted excited families as they drove up and helped load their cars with their meals. The joyful attitude of the volunteers, including Dallas Mavericks mascot, Champ, made sure that the cold and wet November day became a heartwarming, memorable one.
“It helps us out a lot,” said Paige Ward, community engagement coordinator for Buckner. “Our ability to serve more families increases when we have this many volunteers out here. We normally serve 75 to 100 families at our weekly distributions. Through this annual event, we were able to serve 300.”
Photos provided by Dallas Mavericks.