JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 433rd Airlift Wing joined forces with 1,000 other volunteers from the Greater San Antonio Area in serving more than 10,000 meals during the afternoon shift at H-E-B’s 26th Annual Feast of Sharing holiday dinner Dec. 23 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
The group of 71 Reserve Citizen Airmen from the Alamo Wing along with family members and friends served food and drinks, cleaned tables, sorted recyclables and provided fellowship to the assembled guests, who came from throughout the San Antonio area to share the dinner.
According to the company website, the event serves an average of 3,000 pounds of sliced turkey, 2,500 pounds of dressing, 750 apple pies, 380 gallons of mashed potatoes, and 140 gallons of turkey gravy.
This is the fifth year in a row members with the 433rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron have served at the annual event.
“It’s always a good time,” Chief Master Sgt. Ernesto Flores with the 433rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron said. “We are out her because we like to give back to the community, the community always gives back to us.”
The H-E-B's Annual Feast of Sharing holiday dinner began in Laredo, Texas, in 1989 to fight hunger. Today, it takes place in 24 cities throughout the state of Texas and Mexico, just before Christmas.
The Alamo Wing volunteers had a variety of people from all walks of life serving. Some, like identical twins, Airmen 1st Class Maranda Smith, 433rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron health services technician, and Mariah Smith, 433rd Force Support Squadron communications technician, this was their first time helping at an event like the feast.
“It’s very humbling to see everyone out here enjoying the holiday, sitting around laughing, smiling, this is what you want to see this time of year,” Maranda said as a cover band played Jose Feliciano’s holiday classic Feliz Navidad in the background.
The twins agreed that giving up their personal time on a warm, sunny winter’s day in San Antonio, was indeed worth the effort.
“I like to make memories, I like to give back to the community, I can’t do that if I am sleeping in and throwing the day away,” Mariah said.
Echoing those thoughts of giving back to Military City U.S.A. was Lt. Col. Marc Mulkey, 733rd Training Squadron commander.
“I thought (serving at this event) was a good deal for not only for myself to help out in the community, but I also brought my wife and children to help,” he said. “This is a chance for them to give back and to see how fortunate they are, and how there are some people that don’t have the same things we do. It is good for them to give back during the holiday season. We will definitely be back next year.”