Gobble Gobble Give expands meals outreach


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE


Posted on November 28, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 28 at 6:20 PM

AUASTIN -- Giving thanks by volunteering to feed the needy is the mission of Gobble Gobble Give.

There was good music and plenty of good food, however it wasn't some South Austin hot-spot. The song and sustenance served up on South 1st Thanksgiving Day were all part of the Gobble Gobble Give event.

"People want to help all year round, but Thanksgiving is a day when it's really at the forefront of people's minds," said Alissa Leenher, the coordinator for Gobble Gobble Give Austin. "They're grateful for what they have, and they want to share it with others."

That's what Leenher's brother-in-law did 14 years ago in Los Angeles taking a meal to one family in need. That's grown to 10,000 meals served to needy families in six cities across the country.

This is Austin's third year to take part. Volunteers like Gary Beaty, a first-timer, will help serve more than 800 meals.

"You realize there are people who are not as fortunate and who don't have the ability to get a good Thanksgiving meal," said Beaty. "If there's anything we can do today, obviously that's something we would like to participate in."

After each meal was packaged, it was put in trucks or personal vehicles and taken to addresses where people may be in need -- areas like Onion Creek.

Almost a month ago floods on Halloween night forced many people here to leave their homes for good. Some who remain are grateful for a Thanksgiving Day meal made possible by the Gobble Gobble Give volunteers.

"I just appreciate that people are helping out everybody out here," said Ronnie Gallardo, who received a meal. "Some people still don't have stoves and refrigerators."

One of those people is Theresa Marcil.

"I don't have no time to cook," she said. "I got no gas. I got nothing. My kitchen is all destroyed."

Gobble Gobble Give also reached out to the Austin Disaster Relief Network to better target families truly in need.