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Feast of Sharing brings families together

December 8, 2018

Hundreds of Odessans drove out with their families to the Ector County Coliseum Friday evening to sit down and share some holiday meals brought to them by H-E-B.

The Feast of Sharing, started by H-E-B in 1989, offered a smorgasbord of holiday food options cooked en masse, given out completely free to anyone who attended. All it took was a raise of a hand, and a volunteer would come by and provide more food.

Around 1,400 pounds of turkey was cooked for the event, as well as 1,100 pounds of mashed potatoes, 1,100 pounds of stuffing, 1,200 pounds of green beans, 6,000 rolls and 450 apple pies. H-E-B Unit Director Randy Versteeg said they expected to serve more than 5,000 meals and had more than 400 volunteers helping.

“It’s really turned into a tradition,” Versteeg said. “We enjoy the communities we’re in, we enjoy being involved. It’s just our way of giving back.”

Sulema and Chris Pickett, along with their son, Angel Solis, were one of the many families to attend the feast. Chris Pickett and Solis had both just worked 36-hour jobs in the oilfield before showing up to eat.

“We haven’t gotten to have a family meal in a long time,” Sulema Pickett said. “It’s a blessing.”

Lupe Rodriguez was another woman who went out for the food. She said it was great and this was her second year coming.

“A lot of people go without any food at all for the whole day,” Rodriguez said. “It provides a meal for people who are starving to get a meal.”

Of the hundreds of volunteers, many had come from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin athletics, including members of the UTPB softball and swim teams. One of them, UTPB swimmer Nikita Naumov, was volunteering for the first time this year.

“We just really wanted to give back to the community — they support us a lot,” Naumov said. “I love it. It’s really fun seeing everyone have a good time.”

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