We wanted to play a part in ensuring that families in our area facing challenging times didn’t feel the strain of providing Thanksgiving dinner for their families. But, we didn’t just want to provide premade meals, because so much of what Thanksgiving is about is spending time and making memories with loved ones while preparing the turkey and staple side dishes that make up the traditional feast.

So, we set out to our local H-E-B (well actually a few of them) and started gathering all the ingredients needed to prepare Thanksgiving feasts. We are talking full-sized turkeys & roasting pans, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry, gravy, dinner rolls, butter, pumpkin pie, cool whip and even some fun mini T-day cupcakes for the kiddos complete with the super cute, extra capacity HEB reusable boot bags. We received a great deal of help sourcing the items from the team at HEB-Dripping Springs and, thanks to the low Hill Country Fare prices, determined that we’d be able to provide full feasts for 25 families – enough for over 100 meals!

Now, we just needed help to identify families in our community that we could serve in this way (and at the last minute). Thankfully, that’s where Project Connect – Dripping Springs stepped in. Project Connect supports any non-profit activity and contributes wherever they can by bringing together donations, volunteers, and resources to improve giving in the community. Renee Harper worked swiftly in communicating and arranging pickup with families in the Dripping Springs area (and some in Travis county through the Baptist Community Center Mission) that she knew would otherwise not have Thanksgiving meals. We would not have been able to pack and distribute the meals without her.

As we sat down to meals with our own family and friends on Thanksgiving, it made us feel good knowing that some of our neighbors that had been worried about providing a special meal for their families were instead also able to sit and enjoy the food and fellowship with their loved ones too.

Along with helping us with our last-minute Thanksgiving feasts, Project Connect was also gearing up for their annual Tiger Santa program. Each year in preparation for the holidays, they coordinate with various groups and individuals in the area to pull together donations of time, money and gifts for children and families that would otherwise go without.Β  Dripping Springs ISD counselors & nurses identify students whose families need a helping hand & Tiger Santa provides customized lists to sponsors from the families. Tiger Santa & the district then arrange for the wrapped gifts to be picked up by the parents so that they can put them out themselves on Christmas morning. And the really great thing is that only the district has the names of the students so privacy is protected.

Fifty-nine families were served by the effort among all DSISD campuses. One hundred-fifty individuals were sponsored and approximately, $20,000 was spent by the sponsors. Thanks to Project Connect for your work in our Hays county community, it was an honor to participate in Tiger Santa as well this year. πŸŽ…πŸΌ

Want to get involved with Project Connect-Dripping Springs and/or Tiger Santa? Visit their website for information and to inquire about volunteer & donation opportunities.

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