North Austin woman expecting quiet Thanksgiving cooks for 20 families in need


AUSTIN (KXAN) — With both of her sons out of town for the holiday, Mary Pierce of north Austin expected to have a quiet Thanksgiving.

She didn’t expect to lead a group of her neighbors in providing Thanksgiving dinners — complete with all of the necessities — for more than 20 families in need.

Mary Pierce prepares Thanksgiving meals for friends

“It is overwhelming,” Pierce told KXAN. “It’s no exaggeration to say that I had tears of joy in my eyes two or three times a day.”

Pierce posted in a Northwest Hills neighborhood Facebook group last week to see if there were any families who needed a little help this Thanksgiving — food, money, help cooking were all on the table.

The responses poured in from members of the group pitching in to help. Another group of more than 90 members was formed to organize the effort which quickly expanded from feeding two families to more than 20.

Mary Pierce led an effort by Northwest Hills neighbors to prepare Thanksgiving dinners for over 20 families in need (Courtesy of Gabi Leite)

“Maybe it’s because I’m Southern, cooking speaks to your heart in a way that other things can’t,” Pierce said. “It just spreads a certain amount of love.”

Tiffany Buckley didn’t know Pierce outside of the neighborhood Facebook group but jumped at the opportunity to help.

“When my husband got home, I said ‘Hey, we’re going to put together about 200 deviled eggs tonight, does that sound good?” Buckley said.

What was supposed to be a quiet Thanksgiving turned into a whole lot more for Pierce. But she plans to mobilize neighbors to cook meals for needed families this Christmas and for many holidays to come.

“I feel like this year we’ve all kind of searched for something to do for someone and it’s been harder than normal because we can’t get out and do things,” Pierce said. “I think this gave us all something to do and a reminder that we live in such a great community and we have so many people wonderful people around us, and we’re all willing to help each other.”

KXAN’s John Engel will share the full story tonight at 5 p.m.

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