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Thanksgiving is approaching and Buckner International is helping families with their holiday preparations by distributing Thanksgiving meals for those participating in Buckner programs.

2020 has been a difficult year and this year's Thanksgiving celebrations may look a little different, but sharing a Thanksgiving feast with your immediate family and taking time to remember your blessings doesn't have to change. 

See below for how Buckner helped families in Dallas begin their Thanksgiving preparations by distributing Thanksgiving meals while adhering to CDC guidelines.

Dallas Maverick legends deliver turkeys 

At the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid, Dallas Maverick legends Cedric Ceballos and Erick Strickland helped distribute full Thanksgiving meals in partnership with Kroger that included a turkey, stuffing, vegetables, cake mix and more to 200 families served by Buckner. 

"This is an opportunity for the Mavericks to give back to help the community and put smiles on people’s faces," said former Mavericks forward Cedric Ceballos. "This has nothing to do with the team or coming to the game. They just want to make sure the community is blessed."

"This year, our annual collaboration with the Dallas Mavericks means even more," said Steve Watson, Buckner director of aid and assistance. "The coronavirus pandemic has grown the need for humanitarian aid across the city, state and world. We saw the number of families coming to the Buckner Humanitarian Aid Center on a weekly basis for food and aid more than triple at the beginning of the pandemic. We need this sort of unity and commitment to the community from organizations like the Mavs and Kroger to move forward."

200 families in Bachman Lake receive Thanksgiving meals

At the Buckner Family Hope Center at Bachman Lake, 200 families received full Thanksgiving meals in a drive-thru distribution that adhered to CDC guidelines. 

"We are excited to be here among our families," said Family Hope Center at Bachman Lake Director Ricardo Brambila. "It’s been a long time since we've seen them but today we are visiting with them from social distancing and providing 200 turkeys and Thanksgiving meals. That means there will be 200 families who will have a reason to gather together and be thankful."

"Our community has suffered tremendously during this pandemic," Brambila said. "We just want to give them a reason to celebrate and be thankful. Even though they are having a hard year, we have seen people’s resiliency and grit. We are excited to keep blessing their families and stay with them."

Families in West Dallas receive a Thanksgiving feast

Another 200 families in West Dallas were served Thanksgiving feasts including a turkey provided by Kroger and sides at the Buckner Family Hope Center at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy Thanksgiving distribution. 

Family Hope Center staff worked at the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid to pack boxes full of sides and rolls provided by Aramark to fill families' tables on Thanksgiving. 

"This year looks different for all of us and has increased the needs and challenges of the families we serve," said Debora Pizzolo, Family Hope Center family coordinator. "As we approach the holiday season, Buckner has reflected on different ways to still provide safe and consistent aid. It is with that safety in mind we had to strategically plan what this year’s Thanksgiving distribution would look like to ensure the safety of families and staff. While our team is not able to be present the day of the event, we were honored to be serving behind the scenes by pre-packing 200 canned good boxes that will bring hope to the dinner table of a family in need."

Buckner Family Hope Center at Wynnewood fills families tables at Thanksgiving distribution 

The sun was out and the air was crisp while 70 families received turkeys provided by Accident & Injury Chiropractic in a drive-thru distribution this week. Boxes filled with canned goods, sides and desserts were provided by Lear Investment and women's Bible study group at Legacy of Christian Academy. 

"Even behind out masks, you could see the smiles, joy and feelings of thankfulness," said Cheryl Williams, director of the Family Hope Center at Wynnewood. "One lady told us, 'Thank you for still thinking about us and wanting to give us a Thanksgiving meal, even in these times.' That's why it is important to us, because they matter to us, even more so now."

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