Local non-profit offering free Thanksgiving meals for residents

Recordings of the CBS7 News at 5 newscast.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 8:13 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -The Permian Basin Mission Center is having its annual Thanksgiving box meal to give residents who may need help getting food for Thanksgiving.

Today was day one for people to sign up.

They do have to show proof of residence and have a valid ID in order to sign up for this free meal.

The mission center had a long line of residents that went.

Some of the people that went to sign up were waiting at the center, two hours before they opened.

Since it’s a first come, first serve basis.

Each box contains enough food to feed a family of five.

“It’s gonna be a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffing and we’ve ordered that and get volunteers come and help pack them and we’ll distribute the boxes on the 18th of November,” said executive director of the permian basin mission center, hank herrick.

They do have a vetted system where even if they let you in to get a ticket, residents still go through another check to make sure the people that sign up are residents.

Herrick says they’ve had instances where people before would try to get a free meal with false credentials.

Permian Basin Mission Center Food Pantry Director Gabriel Reyes, says they’ve worked hard since the beginning of October to prepare for this.

Now that it’s time to give back, he feels blessed.

“We can only afford to help 400 clients, but it’s just a blessing to do. I mean helping people out, even though we have over 3,000 clients in our system, we can only help the minimum but we try to do what we can in ways,” said Reyes.

One of the issues with the meals is the possibility of a turkey shortage not allowing them to receive their turkeys on time.

Herrick says if they aren’t able to get the turkeys, they’ll have to rely on other meats like chicken, beef or pork.

Residents that show up need to have physical printed proof of both residence and identification.

Some of the people that showed up that only had pictures on their phone were told to come back with acceptable credentials.

A resident who’s been going to the mission center for years was even denied because she didn’t have a bill with her name on it.

“I thank them for all they’ve done year after year, but if they don’t want to give it to us, maybe another person needs it more than I do,” said Odessa resident Cynthia Garza.

Herrick says that because they’re funded by local churches, they want to make sure the money donated to them goes to good use.

Now, if you weren’t able to make it today, you still have tomorrow and Friday to sign up to get a free thanksgiving meal.

However, they are limited to 400 meals.