Operation Turkey providing Thanksgiving meal boxes for families in need

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — In Austin, volunteers with “Operation Turkey” are working to feed hundreds of families in need this Thanksgiving.

They’ve packed up meal boxes with turkey, pie and all the Thanksgiving sides to feed families of four.

The non-profit has already given out about 600 of the boxes in the Austin area in the past couple of days, and it plans to give out about 200 more later this morning. 

This is Operation Turkey’s 20th year. It operates in a number of cities across several different states.

In years past, volunteers have delivered boxes to families in need. But this year, they’ve been working with the City of Austin and local health officials to make sure they’re getting meals out as safely as possible during the pandemic.

This year, however, families are picking up their boxes at the Travis County Expo Center instead.  

Families had to call Operation Turkey ahead of time to request their meal boxes. The non-profit’s executive director, Brian Tolbert says this year, with so many people struggling during the pandemic, the boxes went a lot faster than usual.

“We’ve noticed a lot bigger need than in previous years,” Tolbert said. “When we opened up the request a meal line, we had one city, San Antonio, their requests filled up in three days. They had no more meals to serve. It normally takes a good month, month and a half for all the meals to be accounted for.”

“We have people still contacting us to see if they can get food from us, but we just don’t have it,” Tolbert continued. “It’s heartbreaking to tell somebody that all of our meals have been requested and we do not have anymore. But thankfully, there are lots of other organizations out there like Central Texas Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, those organizations have been doing a great job of giving out food to the public leading up to Thanksgiving Day.”

Operation Turkey Volunteers have also been packing up some individual meal boxes and will be delivering those to the homeless, later today. 

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