HOUSTON - More than 20,000 people filled the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston on Thursday for the annual Super Feast.
It’s the 38th year the City Wide Club of Clubs has put on this event, which provides a Thanksgiving meal and much more to people in need or to those who just want some company.
Longtime volunteers said while they’re not necessarily seeing more people, they are seeing a lot of new faces.
The sounds of jazz from the Big Easy filled Exhibit Hall A late Thursday morning, a room full of people who have had it anything but easy, getting a big show of love this Thanksgiving.
“It’s very tough cause we’re just here by ourselves,” said Tashiba, a mother who recently moved to Houston from Chicago with her three sons, all under the age of ten.
“Very nice people, wonderful people,” she said of the volunteers.
That family made up just a few of many new Houstonians in the crowd, which volunteers say includes recent transplants as well as former oil and gas workers and others who have recently lost a job.
“We know what the economy is doing,” said Robert Goins, who was volunteering at Super Feast for the 21st year on Thursday. “We are seeing some new, it’s kind of disturbing the faces that we are seeing, people you wouldn’t normally think you would see here.”
However, those faces, new and old, got a warm Texas welcome, help getting their turkey and all the fixings to their table, and all the essentials for life outside the GRB.
That includes a Thanksgiving meal to go, clothing, flu shots and other medical services, haircuts and legal advice. There was also a bounce house for kids.
More than 5,000 volunteers helped put on the event, many proudly sporting the logo of their favorite football team playing Thursday or their family and some, like the Guerreros, doing both at once by wearing shirts with the Dallas Cowboys logo on the front, their family name on the back.
“The whole gang’s here,” laughed Chris Guerrero, who showed up with several immediate and extended family members, all wearing matching shirts. “It feels good to give back, man. It really does.”
“There’s a great aura, great energy here right now,” said Houston hip-hop artist Kirko Bangz, who was volunteering for the first time with his young cousin.
Bangz said he’s thankful “seeing these happy faces, seeing my family later on, and seeing these happy families here right now.”
Several elected officials also volunteered, including U.S. Rep. Al Green (D-Houston), U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston), and Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards, along with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
“You can fill the potholes on the streets, but there are a lot of people that I’m seeing that have potholes in their lives,” said Mayor Turner. “Today, in a very strong way, we are filling the potholes in their lives.”