US Houston's Thanksgiving 'Super Feast' is overcoming supply chain challenges to feed tens of thousands
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Thanksgiving Day will feature three games in 2021. As always, the Lions and Cowboys will be in action.The NFL is entering its 16th season of scheduling three games for Thanksgiving Day. Only two games were played last year. The night game between the Steelers and Ravens was postponed because of COVID-19 concerns, but the Lions and Cowboys continued their decades-long streak of playing on the holiday.
Volunteers are converging on the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, overcoming supply chain challenges to serve tens of thousands of people who find themselves in need of a meal on Thanksgiving.
Organizers expect to serve between 25,000 and 30,000 families during Thursday's 43rd annual "Super Feast," they told CNN. About 635,000 pounds of food is being cooked to be served as a hot meal. About 3,200 turkeys have been cooked for the feast, and another 15,000 are being distributed at a separate drive-up location outside the convention center.
How the American Right Claimed Thanksgiving for Its Own
Pass the free enterprise, please.Making use of excerpts from Plymouth Colony Gov. William Bradford’s journals, all of these pieces tell roughly the same story about “the real meaning of Thanksgiving”: the Pilgrims went to Plymouth in 1620 with a utopian vision of holding property in common, but after being mugged by the reality of two years of poor harvests and starvation, they abandoned collectivism for capitalist individualism. These articles conclude in roughly the same way: The lesson of the first Thanksgiving was that “socialism does not work; the one and only source of abundance is free markets.
It's been a hard year for many here in this part of Texas, Stephanie Lewis, regional director of Super Feast organizer City Wide Club of America, told CNN. The Covid-19 pandemic is perhaps the chief culprit, having claimed countless lives and livelihoods, Lewis said. But the, along with soaring gas and food prices, has left families with impossible choices.
"Some people have to make a decision whether to buy gas or buy food, or buy gas or pay the rent or utilities," Lewis said. "They're having to do a lot of work to make ends meet."
What do Native Americans really think about Thanksgiving?
The Great Falls Tribune surveyed more than 40 Indigenous people across 12 tribes about their thoughts on Thanksgiving.But as we learned from Eryn Dion in last year's edition of This is America, the first Thanksgiving actually has a fraught history, as the pilgrims later violated their agreements and attacked and encroached upon Wampanoag lands. This brutality was not uncommon — upon arrival in America, Europeans broke promises and inflicted violence, disease and assimilation against Native people nationwide for generations.
These same challenges ---- have made Lewis' job as the event organizer more difficult than in years past.
"There are hundreds of commodities that are sitting in storage, waiting to be shipped," Lewis said. In prior years, Lewis explained, she simply purchased in bulk. But to overcome this year's challenges, Lewis started planning the event earlier and purchased smaller quantities of goods from a variety of vendors.
The hardest items to get this year were the frozen turkeys and paper goods, organizers said.
"If we as an organization are suffering like that, the impact on the families is probably even greater," Lewis said.
Hunger in Texas
One in seven Texans are food insecure,, which defines food insecurity as a "lack (of) consistent access to enough nutritious food to fuel a regularly healthy lifestyle." In southeast Texas, this translates to about 1 million people, per the Food Bank.
Give thanks – and pass the pumpkin pie ????
If things get weird at the Thanksgiving table, we've got you covered.Laura here, wishing you all health and happiness on Thanksgiving – and every day. And food, lots of good food. I'm thankful for every Short List reader.
That's a problem that's only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic -- not just in Texas --, as the coronavirus has that's left some Americans without enough to eat.
that are making it harder and more expensive to package food products and transport them where they need to go. And found Thanksgiving dinner will cost Americans 14% more this year due to increased pricing and economic disruptions.
In response,and events like Super Feast are doing their best to pick up the slack, despite their own challenges.
One such challenge is growing demand: Before the pandemic, the Houston Food Bank distributed about 500,000 pounds of food per day, according to the food bank. During the pandemic, the food bank distributed between 800,000 and 1 million pounds of food per day.
Ranking the Friends Thanksgiving Episodes from Worst to Best
We're going to need you to pivot over here, because it's time to rank the Friends Thanksgiving episodes. See where your favorite falls in our official ranking.Even though Friends has been off the air for 17 years, the NBC comedy's holiday episodes are still our favorite way to commemorate Turkey Day. Every season, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courteney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Ross (David Schwimmer) celebrated with hilarious high jinks, quotable moments and notable guest stars.
It appears, however, that demand has dropped from its peak: Last month, the food bank distributed on average almost 688,000 pounds or products per day -- a 126% increase compared to October 2019, per the Houston Food Bank.
Back at the George R. Brown Convention Center, City Wide Club of America organizers told CNN they're dealing with a shortage of volunteers in addition to supply chain problems: They usually have between 6,000 and 8,000 volunteers, but this year they have about 3,500 -- a decrease they believe is due to fears about volunteering during the pandemic.
That didn't stop Makeba Dorsey and her two sons, John and Donovan, ages 7 and 17, who volunteered Wednesday, helping to sort nonperishable donations with dozens of volunteers.
Dorsey is battling cancer, she said, and she hopes volunteering teaches her sons to be grateful for what they have and the importance of giving back.
"I'm just thankful to be alive today and be able to come out and help," Dorsey said.
'Love in action'
As Lewis stepped into the industrial kitchen inside the convention center Wednesday, the area buzzed with sounds of pans being shuffled and knives hitting cutting boards.
Some volunteers were marinating the turkeys for the Thanksgiving meal and then tossing them into boiling water.
A plan to secure America's supply chains
Report offers ways we can secure supply chains and lessen reliance on adversarial manufacturing for critical supplies. The task force's mandate was three-fold: understand the Defense Department's processes for analyzing supply chain risk; determine how the Pentagon prioritizes and mitigates identified risk; and offer recommendations that Congress and other relevant agencies can implement to "help build resilience against future shocks to the supply chain" both in the short and long term.The report lays out six overarching recommendations as legislative proposals for inclusion in the NDAA.
"I love volunteering," said Linda Jones as she grabbed spices from a makeshift pantry on a table that had condiments and canned vegetables stacked up high. She was there volunteering with a group from City Cathedral Church, she said.
Other volunteers were cutting yams by hand, the chopping sounds bouncing off the walls. Volunteers like Curlie Jackson were also placing the sliced delicacies into bins for the chef.
As she sliced yams, Jackson said she enjoyed volunteering because she liked meeting new people and giving back.
A few counters down, Robert Goins was shuffling pans of fresh cornbread from a cooling station to a counter.
"It's a great opportunity to help give back," said Goins.
This is Goins' 26th year volunteering for the event, he said. And while wearing a mask and social distancing while volunteering is different, the spirit of Thanksgiving, he said, is the same.
Leroy Woodard, a founding member of "Super Feast," told CNN the event began decades ago in his grandmother's kitchen. After decades, he's still volunteering today because this is "love in action."
As to why Lewis continues organizing this event after more than four decades, she said she likes to give back and give hope.
"I have lived a very blessed life and I always want to show people that there's help and hope on the other side of the tunnel," Lewis said. "If you just go through the challenge, you'll get through the challenge."
And when the Thanksgiving Super Feast is over Thursday, Lewis says her work is only beginning: "On Christmas Eve we will also provide toys and gifts for the children, to brighten their day," she said.
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